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Last week I was in one of my favorite retail stores when I noticed they had merged lines with another brand and one side of the store sold the regular merchandise and the other side displayed the new brand merchandise. It looked like a great idea as all items were quality clothing items and complimented each other well.

My salesperson in the “new” brand side was very helpful, friendly and knowledgeable and I was delighted with my findings. When it came time to purchase, I asked if she would HOLD my items for an hour as I didn’t want to carry them around till I was ready to leave the square. There was only one checkout counter for both brands in the entire store and she gladly wrote my name on the items to be purchased and set them behind the counter.

Coming back an hour later, I looked around for my salesperson but didn’t see her. Not thinking this was an issue, I directly went to the checkout counter and asked the woman working the register if I could pick up and pay for my items being held. I got an annoyed look, but didn’t know the reason for it. I said I had been there earlier and pointed to the items lying in the back of the counter. She carelessly picked them up and started to ring them into the register. I mentioned that a couple of things had been on sale and to please make sure that they were rung up with the discounted pricing. Guess that’s all she could take, because it was now very obvious she was extremely agitated to be ringing up another salesperson’s sale. With a roll of her eyes, she said she was not aware of the discounts from the other brand and made no effort to suggest how we could get this done correctly. I was ready to say “forget the entire purchase”, but at that moment, my salesperson came over and immediately welcomed me back. She mentioned she had been in the dressing room area with another customer and had not seen me come in. She reviewed the rung up items, made sure I received the proper discounts, and thanked me for my business. Meanwhile, the other woman who obviously had been quite put out, made it visible there was animosity in having to cover for my salesperson.

Very clearly the management team of both brands have not created a culture of teamwork. I am sure the compensation process has a big role in creating the divide. Excellent customer service must be planned and managed and many times it is the processes that end up affecting employee’s attitudes. Processes must be customer-focused and not foster the attitude of “It’s not my job”.

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