good customer service is engagement

OK, You Have Me. Now What Are You Going to Do With Me?

Shopping during holiday season isn’t the most enjoyable way to spend your time. And that’s really what you’re spending the most of: your time.  Time finding parking. Time navigating the crowds. Time standing in line. Mind-numbing time. (I’m a big shopper, can you tell?)

What I don’t understand is why more businesses don’t take advantage of the time they have with us.

Two examples. One good. One, not so much.

The Good: My holiday shopping included a trip to the liquor store. I’ll just say that shopping malls don’t have the exclusive rights to exceptionally long line-ups.  The queue must have stretched the width and half the length of the store, aka “we’re going to be here for a while.” So how did the liquor store take advantage of their captive audience? An employee walked the line, first, removing the security tab off our bottles to speed up the process and then offering each person in line a promotional sample bottle (mini bar size) of one of their products. Free booze? Yes, please. And the line was so long, they had two employees working it. Nicely done.

The Bad: I had a few problems with identity theft while I lived in Toronto. And, since my bank Coast Capital Savings, has no branches back east, I spent a bit of time on the phone.  I understand that some businesses want to put a little personality in their brand but have a little thought about it too. When I’m uber-frustrated, trying to get details from the right people, to the right people, while still jumping through the right hoops, the last thing I want to hear is a jokey “on hold” message…for 15 minutes. I was more frustrated after I was off hold than when I started. You have me, so you want to irritate me?

If you have your customers for an extended period of time, make sure to take advantage of that time. Engage. Add value.

Hint: free booze is good.


  • great post. During the holiday shopping madness, I was pleased with Banana Republic’s customer service. On boxing day, while customers waited in line to pay, BR staff walked through the line, removing security tags, ensuring all items had tags/prices, answering customer questions, and etc. Though minor, this mindful logistical strategy minimized a customer’s time at the till. I appreciated the efficiency … as it helped me move along to the next sale/store 🙂

    Kudos to Banana Republic for making my shopping experience painless!

  • Adrian Charlie

    My fiancee’s salon offers waiting customers/spouses water/tea/coffee while they wait. It’s personal and makes me feel less intimidated about returning. If anything it makes me want to return for some of that tea!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *