Friday, 9 September 2016

A love letter to Beauty Departments


After the atrocious 'service' (and I use the word loosely) I had the misfortune of experiencing at Boots recently, I've been even more aware of customer service - or lack thereof - across the board.
Surely in this online age and with the 'grab-n-go' mentality that seems to be here to stay, it doesn't mean that we're forgetting how to deal face-to-face with customers? Or are we now simply cutting out human interaction altogether?
It's one thing to offer self-select beauty and self-service tills. It's quite another to make that the only option available to your customers*.

'UNEXPECTED ITEM IN THE BAGGING AREA' I hate you.

I can see that there is a desire for some self-service tills in busy stores to relieve pressure on tills and offer an alternative for people who have no desire to chit-chat and need to get back to their desk. I mean, I won't use them, but I can see that they have their place. More so when it comes to a sandwich and crisps at lunch.

For me, they will never, ever replace human interaction and traditional 'customer service'. Because that's what it's about, your customer. Not your bottom line, not your shareholder, your customer.
You could look at it and say self-service tills save money. Personally I look at them and see the members of staff they've replaced. Don't tell me that you can't afford staff. You can. You just have to make less profit. And who knows? Maybe if you offered the service, you'd make more money, and keep your shareholders and your customers happy.


I'm in the middle of reading Estee Lauder's 'A Success Story'. I love a good biography/industry book. Yes, it's a book about how she built her business, but she mentions 'customers' on nearly every page. This is a brand built on service. (As an aside, she also throws some brilliant, funny, shade on her competitors and it is well worth a read. It's available here.)

The holding of a customer's hand is classic Lauder technique.

Mrs Lauder doing her thing.
Selfridges Beauty Hall of old.

Selfridges today

I have always loved a good beauty hall. I can wander for hours, literally whole days, looking at what's new, including the fixtures and new counters, new brands and the most fun for me, people watching. I love watching the interaction between sales people and customers. It's my thing. I get it. It seems weird if it's not your thing. But I love it. Admittedly, I may be biased. I was raised around beauty counters.

Mum doing her thing in her first beauty job in Liverpool in the 60s.

Nana doing her thing on a different counter in the 60s.

Whenever I travel, the first place I hit is the department stores. In New York I can spend an entire day doing Bergdorfs and Barneys beauty halls. Another day doing the Ulta/Target/Duane Reade Holy Trinity.
I love beauty, I love (most) people, I love beauty customers, I love beauty teams. That experience cannot be replaced with a till that shouts at you about unexpected items in a baggage area.


Beauty halls in huge department stores have massively upped their game and continue to do so. The competition from online is fierce, so you need to give people a reason to walk through your doors.
The main one for me will always be the experience. Dealing with knowledgeable staff, holding everything in my hand, trying it on my skin, swatching powders, trying lipsticks, reading ingredients labels, talking to the staff, it's all part of the fun.

Adding apothecary-style units to beauty halls in department stores has, for me, added to the entire experience, because you will still have to pay for it at a till with a live, human being manning it. All of the self-select areas of beauty have staff in them that are trained in the brands on offer. It's the modern way to do beauty.

On top of that, we now have services. All of them.

Harvey Nichols Beauty Lounge

Harvey Nichols London recently opened their Beauty Lounge, offering hair, nails, brows, lashes, henna, infusions, three beauty rooms and LED therapy. It's insane. A dedicated entrance means it's literally open dawn til dusk. It's a one-stop shop if you have an event.

Liberty recently refurbed their beauty halls, making even more room for the beautiful niche brands they are famous for. Byredo, Frederic Malle, Surratt, Le Labo, just a few of the standouts, and now Skin Laundry has arrived fresh from L.A. offering 15 minute laser & light facial for busy people on the go. Facials and a Blink Bar mean you can fix your face from top to bottom in a couple of hours.

Liberty in all it's glory.

Selfridges also has everything. Face, hair, body, brands, nails. The whole caboodle.

I love it. I love all of it. Every time I walk through a beauty hall is like the first time.

The new Liberty hall.

No, it's not always perfect, yes, staff have bad days and can be obnoxious and not very well-trained. But I'd rather a person having a bad day that can be trained than a wall of machines any day.






Further info:

Harvey Nichols Beauty Lounge
Liberty
Selfridges






Not a sponsored post, no affiliate links.
Photographs other than mine were sourced from Pinterest, if you are the source please let me know and I will happily update.



*Twitter friends will be aware that I recently tried to spend money (the pre-holiday shop) in Boots to be faced with only self-service tills, no human beings were available. Literally. A manager pointed to the self-service machines as if I was an alien while he did paperwork on his clipboard and said 'the tills aren't open'. I attempted the self-serve tills and when it started giving me grief about unexpected items in the bagging area on the third item, I lost all patience. I left it all there. Walked out. They watched me leave the shop (kids in tow) rather than open a till to serve me. I wasn't being a diva. That's not me. I was being a busy, stressed-out customer, keeping kids amused while we shopped everything from skincare to suncream to hairspray to deodorant and tampax. We went to Superdrug for the essentials and I bought the rest from dept stores.

If your store is open, your tills should be open.

89 comments:

  1. I just loved reading through this post. I couldn't agree more. In fact, I usually go to a Pharmacy type place to get my beauty/skincare/fun cosmetics and I always go with a specific sales person in mind. My thinking is "I'll ask her about this and that", and "She'll know what I'm looking for, she'll understand" I think Boots may be missing out on sales this way.

    Such a lovely post and pictures! Loved it.

    Alina
    www.eclecticalu.blogspot.com

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  2. As an optical professional I'd like to point out that having no staff at the tills possibly goes against the equality act by not providing a service to everyone, discriminating against someone with sight loss for instance who isn't able to use self service checkouts.

    Is it obvious I hate them too?

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    1. I'm ashamed to say I didn't even think of that. My god. Awful.

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    2. It's my job to think of it. But it is wrong on so many levels. I love good customer service. At a pharmacy yesterday I had a wonderful young guy serve me and it does hit home how awful it is to have everything processed by a computer that seems to hate a couple of ounces in the bagging area!!

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  3. I've been to Boots and a customer was taking aaaaages at the one till that was open. I noticed three staff members doing something with clipboards near the tills so I asked if they could open another till as a queue was building with it being the busy lunch hour....one of them replied with "Give me two minutes I'm just doing something" - say what now?? I've worked in retail before and for sure I would have jumped on a till to relieve the queue no matter what I was doing.....crazy times.

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    1. I would have said, I haven't got 2 mins, and placed the item/s on the counter. Walked out. Probably would not go back until I informed Boots management their customer service was lacking. Over that sort of rudeness and it happens everywhere now.

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  4. Loved reading this! I also have a massive issue with premium beauty counters not having product samples. I've been trying tirelessly to get a sample of one of the Chanel serums, and it's like trying to plait fog! Is it so hard to believe that people want to try something actually on their face before shelling out a lump of their hard earned cash! Rant over...

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    1. I agree,its so annoying when you cant get a sample to take home,but they are quite happy for you to pay for the whole thing,,,ive started to say to myself 'if they won't/can't give a sample they dont deserve your money
      Brilliant post Caroline

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    2. I couldn't agree more. I now say to myself 'if they can't/won't give a sample what are they hiding/afraid of!

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    3. I would say 'Well what's our returns policy if I don't get on with it?' and then decide. Not every smaller brand can afford the thousands it costs to make samples, so I do understand the problem, but the big guys can definitely afford it.

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  5. Oooh, sorry to be nosey, but where did your mum work in Liverpool? It looks a bit like Lewis's from that picture, but I only remember it from the 1990s onwards.

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  6. "If your store is open, your tills should be open."

    Amen to that!
    I had a similar experience to you in Boots. Beyond comprehension why they treat customers almost as an afterthought.

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    1. GOD SUSAN THEY HAVE PAPERWORK TO DO DON'T YOU UNDERSTAND?

      ;) x

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  7. I've been having trouble lately at beauty counters, namely unmanned beauty counters. Maybe it's a thing with American department stores, too. It's happened to me twice at Nordstrom in West LA recently. I go in specifically to see a new release at a particular counter but there is nobody there. Somebody from a different brand has to come help me. All I'm saying is if I want to buy Bobbi Brown, I'd like to consult with someone trained in that brand. And I usually end up buying the Laura Mercier or Lancome instead because those are the girls who helped me.

    I know some CVS here in the States have dedicated beauty staff sometimes but... good luck.

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    1. I know. I realise brands have shifts to organise and staff problems, but still......

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  8. U have made my evening, literally sick and tired of bad service.
    Living in the south west, feeling at times deprived of all the goodies one has within reach of London does make me envious. However I have a great store in Dorchester, Gould's where I buy many items of #lancome #clarins #clinique #estee Lauder and a few other bits. To play with cosmetics of #dior #ysl I go into Weymouth, well until Thursday at #Debenhams. No service, virtually non existent. I have been looked upon as I too am from cosmetic background, so shen there are new products I want to swatch, play, paint, sample, smell! Have allowed my hair to go au naturel/greying! Young girls shen they have been there have simply ignored me, ughhh. I'm a nice customer, I also spend money.
    Boots in #Weymouth are useless hence don't go there. Superdrug in Dorchester are helpful but don't have the variety down here, like local boots, so yes I have to shop in #Exerter, Bristol/cribs causeway.
    Of course I shop on line, unless it's newly released I want to try it out and want human inter action. Yes humans, who have good and bad days, but someone I can chat to, build a relationship with whether it's a short lived affair or not!
    Self checkouts are fine if I have a couple of items, honestly I can live without them!!!
    Thank u for a great article, yes I am permanently green with envy of my girlfriends that shop at real big centres. I too will have a great day being doused with knowledge from consultants that will ring up purchases at a till themselves. Xx

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    1. Nothing I love more than a big department store haul! :) x

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  9. Lovely article, really evocative. I have to say I'm still intimidated by beauty counters. The Chanel section at John Lewis Oxford Street recently was a really awkward experience. I wanted foundation, wasn't sure what, needed advice. A member of staff began the process, bit impatiently, but a chap walked up and started asking about lipstick which she obviously found more interesting than trying to deal with a 49 year old with stressed blotchy skin! She duly started to serve him leaving me with a blob of foundation on my hand. Felt really awkward, like I shouldn't be at her counter (not with that skin) So I left PDQ and went a few days later to the Chanel store in Covent Garden where the staff are lovely and don't treat you like a beauty store nobody! (And I came away with a perfect light foundation, and a handful of freebies). Same with Dr Boo in East Dulwich - lovely staff, thoughtful and helpful.... and freebies!

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    1. This is unacceptable behavior. I would be very tempted (i.e. I would) send a message to the store management and tell them exactly how and why they lost a sale.

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    2. I would too. It won't improve if we don't complain.

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  10. Via Martin Lewis, I recently learnt how to mute the volume on self service checkouts. A total revelation! http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/deals/deals-hunter/2016/07/26/how-to-mute-self-service-checkouts/

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    1. I've done this several times only to have a member of the shop staff *lean over my shoulder wordlessly* and turn it all the way back up. Speechless!

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  11. Totally agree about self service tills, I cannot cope with them! I just about manage to buy a newspaper from WH Smiths but that's it. As for using them for the weekly shop in supermarkets - no, no, no! I have to confess that the only beauty hall I go to is in Debenhams which is rather hit or miss staff wise!

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  12. Great post Mrs Hirons. Enjoyed reading it. Agree with you. Love to see inside Selfridges. I've given department stores away altogether in this country. Mecca Cosmetica has a much friendlier vibe and staff seem to have had some training in customer service. There's no portable 'ropes' at the counter. We get to be mature adults waiting our turn instead of airline passengers. I visit Sephora occasionally too but it's more a young person's hangout. I look around at all those girls and wonder if they're getting the right advice but at least they're having fun. I quite agree there's better service at the chemist than a department store and do buy what I can at a chemist. Nib & Fab for instance. Serozinc. Hydraluron. Customer service is everything.

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    1. Love Mecca Cosmetica/Maxima as staff talk with you, have some knowledge of the products they sell and will decant 2-3 days worth of the skincare/foundation you are interested in, into a small pot for you to try at home. No need for companies to make samples. At the Chanel counter in a dept. store the S A gave me a foundation shade that didn't match as that was the only shade sachet she had be given as testers! I did say that wasn't good enough and with much huffing and puffing she depotted the correct shade into a jar kindly given to her from the Lauder lady. If it's all too hard for you, I won't trouble you further by returning.

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  13. Completely agree with you! I loathe self-checkout. I view my refusal as attempting to keep people employed. I appreciate this post and am glad to know I am not the only one.

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  14. I ran into someone who used to frequent my old place of work and we caught up I asked her if she still goes in and she says not anymore the new management has banned employees from talking to customers I was shocked we were a smallish store and we knew everybody by name customer service has gone to crap

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  15. What a great post Caroline. Recently I have had some terrible experiences while out shopping (or eating) and I don't know whether it's my age, or experience (I work in retail also) or wether service really is getting worse. However I am also so much less likely to put up with it now days and I will happily (politely) point that crap out.
    One thing to add though - the apothecary style area in Selfridges drives me mad, I love some of the stuff in there but nothing EVER has a price on it so I am constantly having to find someone to get me the price - which seem to take them forever. I want to carry on browsing while they do that but I know (from experience) that if I don't stay in the exact same spot that they left me in they won't bother to look for me! But hey - I guess that's why i'm more likely to be at Liberty, or that insanely gorgeous new beauty hall at Harvey Nic's (or space NK or content beauty...)

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    1. I know - no pricing drives me nuts also!

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  16. I totally agree with you, and having worked in retail for around 6 years, I now am always so polite to customer assistants because I know how rough it can be. Also, as someone who had worked for Boots, it astounds me that so many managers don't understand the importance of well staffed tills, and instead stretch staff to the limit. The amount of times I have been on tills by myself, dealing with more customers than I have capacity for, or in my less experienced days, been on a counter by myself, ringing for a manager for 20 mins and no one coming, leaving me with frustrated customers that wanted to speak to a manager, are countless, and I think the main problem lies in these companies hiring management that have little or no experience on a shop floor, and so are unable to fully understand the needs of staff and customers alike.

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    1. Ridiculous behaviour. I'd be off to Superdrug IN A SPEEDY FASHION.

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  17. I always have my highest and warmest regards to those sales associates at cosmetics counter that I shop (mainly at Nordstrom USA). Because if I were them I won't last a whole day.... And when an associate provides me outstanding help, I always, always write an email to the store manager because when someone does a good job for customer, she/he deserves to be known. (I'm sure store manager is sick of those complain emails anyway....)

    I totally agree, when it comes to cosmetics which are such a personal items, you cannot replace human customer service. On the other hand, I wish the department stores won't push them such a way that sales associates constantly worries their sales numbers. That causes pushy sales and bitter experience to customer.

    Yes, it is a sales job but if they help me/others and make customers happy, not necessarily end results equal to $$$ purchase, that would eventually bring more people in? My favorite best sales associate lady might not be the top sales in the shop. But she is the entire cause of me keep going back to the store.

    I hope more store managers and other associate value "customer relations" or this gesture of building customer relations/friendship as much as Caroline do!

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    1. I wish they would recognise customers needs more also. Infuriating.

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  18. Self checkout in the states is much different. I've never heard "unexpected item", but they have workers watching people like a hawk and might check receipts.

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    1. Right. So they won't serve you, but they assume you will steal. Nice.

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  19. Loved reading this. So well said..
    Not a fan of "self checkout". Just another way of taking a job away from someone.

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  20. Good customer service is not hard. All you have to do is put yourself in the customers shoes and you know what the right thing to do is.

    Staff (not all) just don't care anymore and this translates across so many industries not just retail.

    A customer should never have to point out what an employee should be doing to provide a better service, the member of staff should preempt that.

    I hate it when staff behind a till talk amongst themselves and don't acknowledge the customer, I hate it when they get defensive or blame someone else for an issue. Brands need to invest in good training and have service standards to meet for their staff. After all with no customers they'd have no business yet constantly we are left to feel like an inconvenience.

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  21. I would not be surprised if the Boots' service has grown worse after the Walgreens purchase. Walgreens in the states is ridiculous with horrible non-service and constant understaffing.

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    1. Weirdly I had great service in Walgreen's in LA when I had my allergic reaction! :)

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  22. I hate having to ask for things from a beauty counter, sorry! I'm profoundly deaf and it's bad enough having to go to a normal till to pay, never mind an intimidating beauty counter. I'd rather try out products myself before taking it off the shelf and paying it at the till, even a self-service till. Or order online.

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    1. Fair enough. Whatever works for you. I can only imagine the frustration. xx

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  23. self serve checkouts are awful my local supermarket pretty much runs off of them, I've left a trolley full of groceries behind before when they couldn't/wouldn't open a register, with 2 kids under 4 and a weekly shop, I can't scan and bag that myself!

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  24. I absolutely hate and cannot seem to figure out self service tills, so I usually just end up leaving without purchasing anything. Just give me one person who will ring me up, take my money and I'll be on my way with my goods. Sigh. I have my "go to" person at my local Barney's. He texts me when something new is coming in, when there is an event. He doesn't make excuses and he is generous with samples so I don't often make expensive mistakes with purchases. I generally throw as much of my business as possible to him, because he goes out of his way to provide me with service. Wish more stores had associates like him on staff.

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  25. Bravo Caroline! The best staff are the ones who do this:- approach with a smile, ask if you need any help, you say no thanks I'm just browsing then they leave you to browse. I've had some great customer experiences on Benefit counters their staff are great!

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  26. I'm actually happy to use self-service tills most of the time. For me they generally beat the one-on-one experience at the till because the service tends to be so bad.

    What absolutely does my head in is being pounced on when I walk into a shop during my lunch hour to browse. I don't mind saying hi to the shop assistants when I enter the shop, but some of them follow you round badgering you constantly, and it's the opposite of good customer service. I have a very taxing job, and just want to be left alone during my lunch break.

    It probably goes without saying that I buy almost everything online now.

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    1. That's a shame. Where do you live?

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    2. London! Some shops are worse than others but in general I only seem to be able to browse alone in a big department store.

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  27. I love beauty halls but I agree that customer service has gone downhill. I can't tell you how many times I've been ignored by staff on some of the concessions in Birmingham Selfridges. Charlotte Tilbury is the worst and not very friendy. Best in store were Estee Lauder, Clarins and Clinique. However I go into Selfridges to find out about brands only they sell. Why the stand offish attitude by these concessions?

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    1. In my opinion it's because some brands hire Makeup artists, not sales people. They're two very different things!

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  28. I much prefer self service tills!! I don't have the patience for queueing and the self service tills are so quick. Once there is staff there on the shop floor to answer my questions or give me advice, I don't mind using a machine to pay for my goods.

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  29. One of the reasons why I rather just order things online... I think I only go to beauty halls nowadays just to try the texture or colour of a product and then order it online or at duty free when I'm traveling.

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  30. I'm also not a fan of self-service tills and will always prefer to deal with a human, if only because it's someone's job.

    Beauty counters here in Australia are pretty good in the department stores and even Priceline (our Boots/Superdrug equivalent) has dedicated in-store beauty advisers. We're not at quite the same level of indulgence as the UK. I have very fond memories of the Clarins beauty room (more like half a floor!) in House of Fraser in Guildford!

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  31. Agree in principle; I prefer not to use self service tills but (and it's a BIG but) I also get so frustrated with a general lack of decent customer service. I will walk away now if I am made to feel I am an inconvenience by asking advice or for help. Don't even get me started on having to interrupt a conversation to get served. Stock in stores is dismal too (not just beauty halls); if I wanted to buy a pair of shoes online, I would. I am perfectly capable of doing it. However, I would rather go to a shop and try on a selection in the right size and not just guess. Rant over.

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  32. I love this post and completely agree with you: we should always have the choice between self-service tills and normal tills! Yet, I can help but explain the reason why I sometimes prefer to shop online or somewhere where the customer service is avoidable, just because it has nothing to do with me being busy. Most of the times when I go beauty shopping, I know what I want to buy, or, if not, I like to discover the product by myself, without the pressure of somebody behind me who's watching every product I'm swatching (now that might be because I'm quite young, but still, I have the right to be at a Chanel counter at 21)! I also struggle to believe that somebody who's just had a quick look at my skin (most of the time with some makeup on) is able to know better than myself and what I explain to her/him what skincare product should I buy. I love customer service and every now and then I find someone who's very passionate and I'm then very happy with the advice/ product she gave me, unfortunately though, most of the times I'm being forced to be stubborn to be able to repurchase my favourite serum (for instance)! I hope that doesn't sound too mean, or wasn't too long, but I just though that my experience with customer service might interest you!

    http://fannyanddailybeauty.com

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  33. I grew up (in the dark ages) and worked in retailing. God help us if we didn't say thank you to a customer. It was a major offense, but customer service was paramount. I'm old enough to remember ladies behind the cosmetic counters in the five & dime. If I get outstanding service, I let the person know how much I appreciated their help.
    It is very frustrating that huge corporations like Macy's will have 1 person manning a whole cosmetic dept. They cry that online sales are taking away from brick and mortar. That's because you have driven us away!

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  34. I pefer the self-service tills in boots and in food shops, as long as there are people on the floor to help me whenever I need it.

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  35. I hate how the human factor is being taken out of everyday life. People dont know how to interavt in person anymore? I work in a hospital and there as well they have started bringing in self checkin and the majority of patients have told me they hate it. They also have initial phone redirection. As soon as a patient gets through to talk to us they are panicked you will hang up because they will be stuck with a recording again. Whats so wrong with a little human touch?? Ps HATE self service in shops unexpected item drives me crazy!

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    1. Yeah the self check-in at the doctors is the worst!

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  36. I'm fairly new to your blog, and had wondered if that was your Grandmother in the picture above.
    I am ecstatic to have found you through YouTube, binge watched all of your videos, and have now started on reading your blog post.
    Thank you for all the helpful information and humor you give!

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  37. Those photos of your mom and gran are everything! So special!
    I see that your love of beauty is totally innate and really part of your DNA!
    I have bing watched you this summer...perfect thing to do while sitting in the AC avoiding the extreme heat here in Toronto. I love everything you do!

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  38. Want consistent, woeful customer service? Go to Debenhams. Christ it has to be seen to be believed. Well it would be if you could actually find a human being to deal with and if you do, well, best of luck with it. There's no excuse for that kind of rubbish customer service! Which is why they don't see a cent of my hard earned cash. Bravo Mrs H for a spot on article!

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    1. I had my own shocking incident in Debs. Not good. It really does put you off going back!

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  39. Try Living in Belgium!!! UK service is a dream in comparison. Ok we have good pharmacy's with French skincare but little make up. Or there are two big beauty chains but assitants often over made up, snobby and rarely able/willing to advise even when you are spending what feels like big money. They just want the sale. I love Boots and have had brilliant service although generally in smaller stores (wonderful No 7 lady in St Andrews wouldn't sell me products as my skin was over-allergic, recommended Simple instrad). But next time I am in Lindon I feel a few hours in Selfridges or Liberty will be needed. Facials, nails, LED (??) sounds wonderful

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  40. Self-service seems to be the way now, with petrol pumps,vending machine, petrol pumps and tills, hate using them. As for counter service it's abismal and majority of people working on them hate the job and get paid low wages so they have no desire to provide a nice experience and the rest are too busy bitching about the people on their competitors counters or trying to do each other out of a job.

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  41. Thank you Mrs Hirons for expressing so eloquently what many of us think about the self service tills. I hate using them in any shop even if just for a single purchase as I always get flustered and something goes wrong resulting in a wait for assistance. Would prefer to wait for a sales assistant at a till even if there's a queue. An excellent article as always

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  42. Come to Belfast Caroline! Having worked in 'the big Boots' recently customers can use the tills at the luxury beauty counters or at fragrance even if theyre just buying a bottle of water - customer service is everything and if you were seen sending someone to the self service tills I tell ya you'd be in deep trouble!

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  43. Caroline, I agree with you in that Boots customer service has got worse, but for me it's precisely at the tills where I've encountered rude and uninterested sales people (whereas the staff at their concession staff are rather nice). But not everybody can afford to shop at Selfridges, Liberty or Harvey Nicks, three places where, by the way, I've also received terrible customer service at pretty high prices.

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  44. I live in a relatively small town with Sephora, Ulta and Dillards. I get bombarded with perfume and everything else in Dillards, which doesnt have much, if any, of what I buy. After taking my two teens into Sephora yesterday, I may not go back. None of 'my' usual gals were there working. The three that were were busy applying their own makeup while the customers milled around. These weren't normal looking sales staff either. Call me old, call me old fashioned, but if you work in that environment, look the part, or at least try. This staff was scary looking. I do wish I had more dept store cosmetics to shop at. I might move in!

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  45. The pictures of mum and nana make me smile, they are so glamorous! I've always worked in customer service, so when I'm the customer I'm extra kind. But I've never had fun at a beauty counter, I don't get it. The sales associates in the skincare section of my Sephora are kind to me now (they know I much I spend) but it took getting dressed up, wearing a absurd amount of make up and carrying a pricey bag to get noticed the first few times, not my style, at all. I even took my husband and little one on a 4 hour drive last year to Saks in San Francisco specifically to get shade matched and but the Chantecallie tinted moisturizer you love. I asked for help and was ignored, I under tans that store in particular gets a lot of tourist but we all dressed up to go in there (stupid, but it unfortunately makes a difference) anyways ending up coming home without it. You know I buy A LOT, but it's all online, the computer is more than happy to take my money and doesn't ignore me.

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  46. Working for a flagship store on Oxford Street in the cosmetics industry I simply can't imagine being so lazy. We had it drilled into us from day one that we're there to set an example for the rest of the business at that the customer is always at the centre of what we do. Forget profits - although they do still matter - what matters most is that people leave with what they need and a positive impression of the brand. Profits come when your customers are happy with their experience and come back for more.

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  47. Amen to all of your post.
    The same thing is happening in France, I can't stand these self-service tills. I promised myself I would never use them, I want to see people when doing any shopping.
    About beauty halls and counters, I couldn't agree more, love that brands understand that their teams are they best assets to get and retain customers.

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  48. I have to say kudos to Harvey Nichols - their department ( ground floor) may not be great looks wise but when I bought something that had expired they posted me out a new one with a wad of samples and a lovely note.

    Agree that lack of samples and snooty service are intolerable.

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  49. What a delightful post Caroline!
    You've managed to describe exactly the way that I feel as I wander around different departments stores' beauty halls! On a recent trip to Melbourne, I spent a huge amount of time taking it all in. I used to be embarrassed to admit how much I love to do such a thing, but now I realise that everyone has their 'thing', and mine just happens to be beauty!
    So glad to have found you!!! xxx

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  50. Should say what my dad says everytime he complains if there isn't a till open - 'I won't scan my own shopping and I'm not stacking your shelves either'

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  51. I love people in department stores. I think they really do boost the brand if the customer service is done right. One time at Bergdorfs, however, the beauty people were so busy chatting that I was too afraid to ask them for help. Enough was enough and I had to ask the sales person that was on his CELLPHONE to help me. Get your hands off your bloody phones!

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  52. This post and all the comments should be circulated to the managers of Boots, Debenhams & co just so they realise how much they are damaging themselves

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