Customer service is the springboard for successful public relations and marketing strategies. Anyone can act as the “customer.” Whether someone is a fashionista shopping for the newest pair of Manolos or a journalist shopping for a captivating story. Building and maintaining good relationships is key to public relations.
Nordstrom is probably the best example of placing customer service at the forefront of their business model. They even have their own urban legend about someone returning a set of tires!
During the current economy, department stores are slashing prices and high-end labels are creating lower priced lines. Now, luxury boutique stores are even throwing away their snooty image and starting to place importance on customer service.
Ray A. Smith at the Wall Street Journal explains, “as the luxury goods industry suffers a massive slump in sales – many sales clerks at designer stores who were famously haughty and patronizing suddenly have changed their styles.”
Smith also reports that “some [stores] do acknowledge that they’ve instructed their sales clerks to be less abrupt, spend more time with customers and refrain from being pushy. At Neiman Marcus, sales associates are being encouraged to be “more patient” with customers. “We have seen that customers are more anxious and there is some concern out there,” says Ginger Reeder, a spokeswoman for Neiman Marcus. “So it behooves all of us to remember to be a little more patient.”
If you care about your customer, the customer will care about you and keep your brand secure. As I have said before, in a time of recession, consumers are looking for brands they trust. They want to know that the companies are looking out for them and have their best interest at heart. Fashion brands will gain and retain business while setting themselves apart once they place more importance on customer service.