“Big mistake” is a classic line from the film Pretty Woman, the scene where Julia Roberts stands gloating in a store with her arms full of bags from chic boutiques. It resonates with every woman and probably most men. We've been there. Not as hookers (well, most of us, anyway!), but as patrons with cash on the receiving end of snobby looks from store personnel because we dared to go shopping in our Sunday slobs.
I suspect that the clothing issue played a role some years ago when I went into to a high-end gift shop in casual attire. The chopper that I had purchased there was broken and, busy with numerous projects, I had no time to “dress” for this minor errand. Whatever the cause of her attitude, the shop woman reacted with drama—literally blaming me for the malfunction! I persisted and she grudgingly agreed to have someone look at it. When I came to pick it up after a ridiculously long period, the part that they claimed had been replaced was DIRTY, so I had to wait even longer. Before this event I had intended to purchase a present (from four of us) for my in-law’s 50th anniversary at that shop. Naturally I changed my mind about this significant investment.
Then a few weeks ago I made an appointment at a salon for a minor treatment. Feeling ill that day, I called and canceled, leaving a message on her voice mail. When I didn't hear back from her to confirm that she heard the message, I dragged myself out anyway and having trouble finding her salon, I called for directions. She said that she had heard the message and left already—nice of her to let me know—and would call back to reschedule. She never did, presumably because of the modest amount involved. What she didn't know was that the appointment was meant as a reconnaissance mission: I was looking for an appropriate salon to purchase a gift certificate of considerable value. Now, naturally, I will go elsewhere. In any kind of competitive business, one really can’t afford to kiss a potential customer goodbye.
As I mentioned in my blog of April 21st, never, ever, ever underestimate your customers and their ability to slay you with their long-range social-media missiles. The corollary of this is: never underestimate their intentions! Big sales can sometimes be dressed in shabby clothing. The scene from Pretty Woman should be a key part of every customer-service training program!!