Can One Person “MakeUp” for the Poor Customer Service of Another?

In between business meetings today, I decided to make a quick stop into a well known national chain of high end cosmetics.  I typically am a brand loyal girl, but was wondering if I was up for a change today.

I drifted away from the makeup counter that I typically shop at and started looking at the counters and aisles of other brands.  I noticed that there were a few women in black capes that worked for the store, but none approached me.  That was the beginning of my experiment.  I’m pretty good at looking “lost” when I need some help, so I put on the “lost” face, but still no one came to my aid.  Four minutes passed.  Because I had another client meeting, I had to get the ball rolling myself.

I approached a staff member myself and asked her a bit about the new brand and quickly told her what what my goals were.  She basically just shrugged and replied “Yeah, it’s a pretty good brand.  It should help you out.”  She didn’t ask any further questions and didn’t offer any other input.

Because the name of the new brand is very well known and I like the colors in the palette, I decided to proceed and purchase the products.  I waited patiently in line and for the two cashiers at the counter to work their magic.  I was next in line eager to checkout.  The moment one of the cashiers was done with their customer, she immediately grabbed some paperwork next to her register and began scanning codes in.  The lady behind me said “It appears as if we are invisible today.” in a joking voice.  By that point, I was really ready to just put my product down and leave.

At that moment, the next cashier was done, smiled, looked at me, and said “I’d be happy to help you now.”  That blew me away.  She engaged me in conversation and told me that she had just purchased the same eyeshadows and was sure I would like them. (I tried to let the fact that she had 6 inch false eyelashes not sway the compliment.)

She then offered some samples of some skin care products to me and I readily accepted them.  She asked if I had “my frequent flyer card” with me.  “If not, I’d be happy to look it up in our system and give you credit that way.”

I left with a smile on my face.  This last interaction that I had was long and engaging enough to make me forget about the neglected feeling I had a the beginning of my shopping experience.  I wonder if I would have had the same feeling had she merely been more pleasant than the others, but kept the interaction to the necessities and not offered samples or help with the card.

The first woman who helped me only offered enough customer service to satisfy my most basic inquiry.  The last woman offered enough customer service to actively engage me to the point that I plan on returning again. If so, why hadn’t the others picked up on that as well.  I also wondered if any of her customer service was taught or encouraged by the manager or leadership of the store.  Your thoughts?

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