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The “Jumper Customer Experience”

Happy anniversary to us! We just celebrated our 23rd wedding anniversary in Colorado.

We walked, we hiked, we visited gorgeous scenic spaces, found some hidden gems and our experience reinforced that no matter what state we are in, Customer Experience dictates greatly where we spend our money.

Whether a visitor or local yokel, engagement with frontline Customer Service staff makes or break the bank.

In Search of a Sun Shirt

When we were in Colorado, we were looking for some sun shirts; the kind that have SPF protection, are long sleeve and have a hood. It was going to be hot, and hiking was on the agenda.

To avoid sunburn we were on a mission! We were in Vail CO and there were many stores to choose from. The competition for customers is high in this resort town.

One would think that Customer Service would be at its finest.

After all, we know that a great Customer Service experience results in:

  • better tips
  • recurring business
  • more money spent at the business

Our experience between stores was VERY different.

Store #1 Customer Service Crickets

In one store we were barely greeted by the salesperson and pretty much left alone to search the store.

We left without finding anything. The sun shirts might have been tucked away; we’ll never know!

Store #2 Improvement on the Customer Experience

In another store we were greeted and asked if we were looking for anything special. They didn’t carry sun shirts, but she referred us to two other sports stores.

Things were looking up!

Because of her helpfulness we perused and looked to see if anything at her place struck our fancy to purchase.

Store #3 Customer Experience Jackpot

We walked into Patagonia. The staff was pretty helpful. I asked if they had a different size and miracle of miracles, she actually found one in the back!

Bingo. Both Jeff and I found our sun shirts.

But Wait! There’s More. . .

Meanwhile because staff was engaging but not overbearing, Jeff was poking around looking at this and that. He saw a jumper on a mannequin in a beautiful blue color and suggested I try it on. In my size there was only black, not blue. The “jumper experience” could have finished right there with no purchase.

We didn’t know there was another Patagonia store within walking distance. She proactively called the other store to see if they had the blue in my size. Lo and behold they had BOTH blue and black. She put a hold on the items, and we walked over to store number two.

The staff here was even more engaging! When we walked in a woman and a man who were at the front counter immediately looked up from their task and greeted us. It seemed I’d barely started to tell them about a jumper and they lit up;  they immediately knew who I was and even greeted me by name.

Typically, you take your item to the dressing room, try it on, and make a decision. But the gal at the front was very engaging. She mentioned that she hadn’t seen it on yet and would love it if I would show her. So, I did!

I tried on both the blue and the black. She gave me her honest opinion, as did my husband and the male employee. The blue was so unusual and fun, however, black is the most versatile and flattering. Logical me was leaning to black.

What did I end up with? TWO jumpers.

The Moral of the Story

What does the story illustrate? That I’m an impulse buyer? Ha! No. (This was just luck to find two great fits.)

What I really want to convey is the feeling that Jeff and I got when walking into the Patagonia store. It was vastly different from other stores we visited in search of our sun shirts.

The engagement of the employees made the business much more money!

  • They looked up from their tasks when we walked in.
  • Staff greeted us and looked us in the eye right away.
  • They were genuinely helpful without being overbearing.
  • Despite doing inventory and other tasks, they were PRESENT and ENGAGED with us when we were there. Their priorities were correct.

All of this can, and should, be taught and developed to maximize customer spending, and increase employee workplace satisfaction.


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