Retailers saw a 2.8% drop in holiday sales this past year. With a sagging economy consumers are tightening their purse strings, belts, and every other adage used to describe the lack of spending. Stores cannot keep slashing prices and still make a profit. Retail stores and restaurants have one last fight in them, not rock bottom prices, but customer service.
There is a saying in the retail industry: Service, quality, or price; pick two. In other words if you want service or quality then you will have to pay more for them. I have seen more of a blend of these three qualities over the past month.
DressBarn- Medina, Ohio: DressBarn is a national chain with over 800 stores across the country. This store specializes in women’s fashion with a reputation for quality, style, value, and customer service.
I experienced DressBarn for the first time this past January. I was looking for a dress or suit and had struck out at several other retail stores. I told the saleswoman what I was looking for and she and her coworker set about finding me the perfect outfit.
I was in the fitting rooms and they kept bringing me different combinations of clothes in order to help me make the right choice. The two women offered me honest opinions on how colors, sizes, and styles looked on me. I picked the perfect outfit and then continued to shop some more.
I have only experienced this kind of customer service in men’s clothing stores before. When a man walks in he tells the sales associate what he is looking for and they put together a complete outfit including a tie and socks. It was very refreshing to have the same assistance in a women’s clothing store.
DressBarn’s normal prices were very reasonable compared to other department stores. Most of the items I bought were on sale. I was able to mix and match a skirt, three blouses, a jacket, and two other shirts for just over $100.
Dillard’s-Strongsville, Ohio: Dillard’s is a department store that has 320 stores in twenty-nine states. I normally only shop there for my husband’s clothes. He likes their selection of dress pants, extra tall shirts, and extra long ties.
I entered the store at the men’s department and was immediately assisted by a sales associate. He helped me get the correct size pants and shirts. I did not even need to touch the merchandise, he found the sizes, got my opinion on the price and style, and carried the items over to the register.
The prices at Dillard’s are slightly higher than I normally like to pay for work clothes. If you can catch the items you are looking for on sale then the quality is more than worth price. The added customer service makes it really easy to shop at Dillard’s.
Red Lobster-Strongsville, Ohio: Red Lobster has 680 restaurant locations throughout the United States and Canada. We have eaten there many times over the years but we never had an experience like the one we had in January.
The waitress was exceptional. We had a group of six people and waiting on tables is no easy task. She kept a smile on her face and our drinks filled. It was refreshing to actually have a waitress wait on us after some horrible dining experiences at other restaurants.
At the end of the meal, the manager came to our table. She asked us questions about the quality of our dinners and the service. The manager even talked to the kids and invited them over to the lobster tank for a demonstration of the “trick” that lobsters can do. This was absolutely the first time that any restaurant manager seemed to even care about our meal, service, or just being friendly.
I may have hit an incredibly wonderful streak of good luck with these three stores but I do think that there is something to be said about customer service. Because of the customer service that these places have in place I will return to all three places before shopping or dining at other places. I hope that the customer service continues.
December Sales Slump