Good service sells…in bookshops.

Good service sells.

I was at a well-known bookshop today. Being a Sunday, the bookshop was full of paying customers – just like me.

I arrived at the information counter.

There were 3 people, who, I thought, were here to serve me. I was the only customer at the counter. One of them was young man looking at his computer screen. He kept gazing into his screen…. Eventually, he looked up at me. I told him about the book that I was looking for. He wrote down the bookshelf number and said it was in the “Self Help” section.

“Where is that?” I asked, to which he pointed, “It’s over there.” If you know this bookshop, you will know that it is a really big one, so “over there” could be over in lots of different places. I persistently asked him for more detailed directions (I’m a male, I don’t like to look for things!!) and he said, “It’s behind that large bookcase.” So, off I went and, as you might expect, I couldn’t find the book.

I found an employee near “that big  bookcase” and asked her where I could find the book. She replied, “It’s near the Information Counter.” Being the mild mannered, even tempered person that I am, I kept my cool despite wasting my time looking for a book in the wrong place after being given the wrong directions!

I wondered how many customers like me are sent “over there” to find a book, only to have to get further assistance. All it would have taken would have been for the person behind the counter to get up from his seat and help me find the book that I wanted to buy. All it takes is that extra “one percent” of effort…the difference between a poor customer service experience and one that treats me like an individual…and helps me to buy more at the same time.

Based on my observations, I doubt whether staff in this bookshop get very much (or any) training in customer service. Many companies think that training in service is a cost. In reality, it’s an investment in sales and customer loyalty. If you want to increase your sales, focus more effort on your customer service training.

By the way, I walked out of the bookshop without spending any money.

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