I admit it, I am loyal to brands I love and I will go out of my way to shop at or for them but my loyalty is based on high expectations. As someone that has worked in customer service in one form or another for my whole life, I really believe that providing great customer service isn't really that hard. If you think it is then you are probably in the wrong job. Don't get me wrong, I had many a day when I had to deal with unhappy and unreasonable customers and sometimes I didn't have on my happiest of faces but 99.9% of the time I really wanted to help each and every person that walked through the door.
Enough about me, back to brands...if you know me you will know that I drink coffee from Starbucks, spend lots of time (and money) in the Disney store, frequent Old Navy for kids clothes and most recently have begun my love affair with Target. When I heard Target was coming to Canada I was so excited, I had shopped their U.S. stores and always got great deals on the things I wanted. I also knew that just like every other U.S. retailer that the Target stores that opened here would not be the same as their stateside counterparts and I'm okay with that - I get it. However, what I did expect was good value, great service and another option for my "value" shopping. So far Target is making me really happy and here's why:
1. The Red Card - this handy little card linked to your bank card (or their is a credit card option) saves you 5% on your purchases and it comes off right away - no need to build up points or save for redemption! I love this card
2. Starbucks - each location has a Starbucks, it's perfect for me
3. Shopping Carts with kid's seating - while they are a bit of a beast to maneuver, these carts are one of the few my two kids will actually sit in for the duration of a shopping trip
4. Value - the pricing has good value, not to say you don't need to shop sales or price check but most items are in the range I would expect
5. Service - this probably should have been my #1 reason but I saved the best for the last. The staff at Target is always attentive, they ask if you need help and if you do, they take the time to assist you not just point you in the right direction. It was actually their service that inspired me to write this post.
Great Service Story
This morning at just after 8 am, I went to Target to return an item (without the receipt), pick up something small and get my daughter dropped at day camp before heading to work. When we entered the staff were in their team "meeting" at the front of the store but immediately the staff person on customer service came over to help. My return of a pencil case even without a receipt was smooth sailing and the salesperson was quick & efficient. We got our gift card and went into the store to pick up some chapstick for one of my daughter's friends (that's a whole other story) then I noticed they has butterfly wings in the party section that I had hedged on buying during a previous shopping trip. My daughter is having a Rainbow Magic fairy themed party and I thought the guests might like to have "fairy wings" - a steal at $2 a piece. I asked my daughter if she'd like them for her guests and she was very excited at the idea. I grabbed the pile of wings and counted 7...the downside, we needed 12. I asked the salesgirl across the way working in cosmetics if they had any more and she offered to take it to the front to scan, then another staff person came by with a hand scanner and checked sadly, this was all they had but they offered to call another store and check for additional stock. We all went up to customer service and the salesperson that had processed my return asked which stores I would like to check and I gave her the locations close to our house and my work. She then got on the phone and started calling around, and at one point had another staff person take the line as she had to serve a customer on cash - when she was done she got on another line and joked it would be a race to find out who could locate the fairy wings first. The young man helping us, made conversation not just with me but with my soon to be six year old daughter, asking her about her party and listening intently as she gave him ALL the details. In the end, another store thought they might have stock but I couldn't wait to confirm so I said I would just pop in and see. The salesperson offered to hold the items at their store so I wouldn't come back to find them sold - perfect. I did find another 5 wings at another store and my daughter and I returned to the original store to pick up the other 8. Again the staff person on duty (a young guy) was friendly, and asked what the wings were for and then talked to my daughter about her party and the Rainbow Magic books which I am sure were not of any interest to him but my daughter would never have known that by the way he treated her. This is the kind of service that keeps me coming back to a store/brand and I will let all my friends and fellow moms know what a great experience I had.
So to all the retailers, brands and companies out there...my best advice is to hire, train and retain great staff they are your best ambassadors!
Happy Shopping : )