I was at the mall with my two kids this weekend and I needed help finding a dress for an upcoming wedding. I was in a store that shall remain nameless and tried finding an associate who could help me. I found one after a minute, but she was busy on a tablet either working or on Facebook; who could tell.
So instead of interrupting her, I tried searching through the racks myself. It didn’t take long for my kids to start whining that they were bored and begin pestering each other and stressing me out. I found a dress that was close to what I was looking for, so I interrupted the distracted sales associate to ask if there were other dresses similar but different to the one I had found.
She looked back down to her tablet and started searching their website. Thinking “well I can do that myself” I pulled out my phone and started online shopping too. I found it before she did. They didn’t have it in the store so I bought it on my phone while standing in the store.
By the time I walked out I was incredulous at the poor customer experience. I work in retail technology and every conference, webinar, or white paper by retailers is about providing a phenomenal customer experience and a seamless omnichannel experience. But that still doesn’t seem to be realized in the actual stores.
As an avid consumer, I’m going to pass along some advice to retailers: find a better use for those hand-held tablets. I don’t want to feel like I’m rudely interrupting sales associates when I need to ask for help. It annoys me to no end when they’re speaking to me, but looking down at a device. I have a suggestion, Hand those tablets over to my kids so they’re distracted and I can actually enjoy shopping! I promise to give it back…
Better yet, how about retailers equip their sales associates with the information I, the consumer, wants to know real-time. Don’t leave me waiting while they run to the back, get waylaid by other customers, and search the stock room forever. I’ll admit, I’m one of those impatient people who gives up waiting after a few minutes and just walks out to the next store. I do not have the time for inefficient service. No one does anymore.
I work at Theatro, so I know it’s possible to connect your associates to each other through an intelligent personal assistant that is voice-controlled and integrates with your enterprise network. I know the technology exists. So, when I’m out in the world, wearing my mom/consumer hat and shopping, and I get a shockingly inefficient level of service, it exasperates me to no end. Help me, help you. Because it helps me too!
I look forward to a world where I can walk into a store, talk to a sales associate who actually makes eye contact, has their hands free to help me look for whatever I’m shopping for, and can tell me the price or what’s in stock at the speed of thought.