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penI’ve spent several years in customer service and sales training in the luxury industry. So when I go shopping, I’m particularly aware of the service. Customers should expect good service; but when service fails in a luxury setting, it’s particularly troublesome.  In this case, I went into a luxury retailer to purchase a pen refill. When I left the store, I not only had my refill, but also a list of “missed moments:”

1. The sales person greeted me with an open-ended question, “How may I help you?” Unfortunately, when I responded that I needed a pen refill, her disappointment was apparent. She turned her back to me and proceeded to the caseline.
Missed Moment: Make me feel welcome: “That’s great and welcome back to our store. I’ll be happy to help you find the right refill.”

2. I didn’t know which refill I needed, so I handed the pen to the associate after removing it from its special case (now it’s obvious I love and take care of this pen).
Missed Moment: Compliment your product: “Wow that’s a beautiful pen! And I can see you love it as well by how you treat it.”

3. The associate opened the pen to check the refill type. She then closed the pen and handed it back to me with the old refill still inside.
Missed Moment: Engage me – “Would you like me to replace the refill for you?” (Perhaps if the store is busy, this might not work, but I was the only customer!)

4. Missed Moment:  If the associate had replaced the refill for me, she would have had time to explore opportunities for add on sales, “When do you use your pen the most?  “Are there  occasions where you’d consider giving a pen like this as a gift?”

5. At the end of the transaction, the associate asked for my email address. Since she’d not established a personal connection with me, I declined to share it.
Missed Moment: If you create an emotional connection, a customer is more likely to share personal information. Also, explain why you need my email address – e.g., to keep me informed of new products, upcoming events, sales, etc.

6. The associate rang up my purchase, gave me the receipt to sign, and thanked me. That was it.
Missed Moment: Make me want to come back: Use my name when you thank me (it’s on the receipt) and let me know you appreciate my business. “Thank you Ms. Macdonald, We’re happy you stopped by and hope you’ll return to our store whenever you need another refill or are just shopping for a gift.”

Next time you’re interacting with a customer, think about those important moments you may be missing!