Shabby versus Successful

Have you ever experienced better customer service when dressed up well rather than shabby? I wanted to find out if one’s appearance really affects on the quality of the service received. To resolve this I made a small playful experiment in our local shopping
mall Iso Omena. The results were surprising.

I did two rounds in 15 stores with two different looks and observed how the personnel
reacts to me as a customer and if the reaction varies according to my looks. I visited
mainly clothing, shoe and jewellery stores. Below you can find my outfits:

Picture2  Outfit A: Old sneakers, plastic bag, no makeup, extremely shabby.
Outfit B: Blazer, high heels, clean makeup, highly successful.

My first thoughts were that I’m definitely going to get better service dressed up in a blazer
and high heels than in sweat pants and sneakers. But I was wrong. Surprisingly the way I
looked did not affect to the quality of the service as much as I thought. In the stores
where the personnel was trained to serve the customers, greet and make contact did it in
both cases. Same thing in the stores with low quality service. How I looked was not the
issue rather lack of motivation or training.

In almost half of the stores I visited, the service was not as good as it could have been. I myself have worked as an active salesperson in a fashion jewelry store Glitter as a teenager (and proudly I can say this store was one of the top performers in my survey). With this experience I can say that good customer service can affect a lot to the customer’s decision to purchase. I also read an interesting post “8 Data Points about the importance of customer experience” supporting this thought. Is this the key to our poor economic situation in retail right now? To focus on better customer service. What do you think?


More detailed information of my results


Aside | This entry was posted in Attitudes, Motives. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Shabby versus Successful

  1. m&s says:

    Very thoughtful text and good points of view! It struck me that you might not have been shabby enough…! At some point the shabbiness effects everyone, at least at a subconscious level – even the most trained salesperson. Then it affects also the conduct and customer service. Imaging a dirty, stinky homeless who has not seen a shower for weeks and who’s toothless mouth steams liquor shop and asks one for a favor! How willing are the salespersons to do their utmost to satisfy this customer?

  2. tipaiva says:

    I also think that good customer service can sometimes affect to purchase decision. It is always nicer to visit stores where the service is great. But on the other hand the customer service doesn’t always influence on the purchase decision. For example when I’m buying something really cheap or things that I really need at the moment, the quality of the service isn’t so important.

  3. saaravir says:

    Quite interesting study! In my opinion customer service can get you in a good mood and through that affect to purchase decision. Me and my friend was yesterday in one little interior store and none of the three salesperson did’t notice us at all. They didn’t even say hello when we came inside or bye bye when we left (with empty hands). Being noticed is customer service as well!

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