‘Corporations may manufacture products but what consumers buy are brands.’ Naomi Klien, No Logo, 2001.
What better way to experience a brand then by the service you receive in their store environment. This gives the company a chance to have a one on one connection with the consumer persuading them, more then any exasperating campaign that they are in fact the brand they have been searching for. This is inevitably the lost link in retaining consumers as loyal, the Midas touch in a recession.
Recently I have experienced such a low caliber of customer service in stores, my own spending habits have come to a near stand still. From the extensive queue in the likes of Topshop and River Island to the disconcerting ‘Huh?’ as a response from a Zara assistant, I myself am experiencing a loss of faith and seriously reconsidering the value of my literal and metaphorical pound!
Now, more then ever, customers do not have the time to stand around waiting. With competition rife, this is an area that corporations should be investing in more then ever. The blurring of lines in the High Street is allowing consumers to consider a range of options. From luxury brands facilitating collaborations at a lower price range to value retailers investing in more quality goods, service is an area that many brands can invest in to gain the upper hand against competitors.
This has been alliterated time and time again with the likes of popular television shows ‘Mary Queen of Shops’ and … but yet I have witnessed no improvement. A reason for this could be the location of my current dwelling, Luton Town, however as a recent resident of Manchester neither The Arndale Centre nor the ornamental Trafford Centre has satisfied my requisite. Instead I have found that independent stores such as those found around the popular Northern Quarter or spotted around St Albans, Hertfordshire have fulfilled that … the missing link, void, lull in service…
Although even in the likes of these stores, it seems, that if you are not perceived to ‘look’ or ‘act’ like their target consumer you are often frowned upon as a waste of their time or even ignored.
The time has come for all retailers alike to realise that ignorance is in fact, not bliss. A brand is becoming less dictated and more of a choice for consumers. Increasingly aware of advertising and saturated with availability, organisations are coming under scrutiny and consumers are realising that wants are no longer necessities. The level of customer service a consumer receives is the beginning of an opinion and the extent of word of mouth, which is still clearly being underestimated as a marketing strategy.
If the rise of public relations is anything to go by, this is one to watch!
To be continued…