The Value of Personal Service

The Value of Personal Service

A few weeks back, I had the experience of shopping with my son for his first suit. You got it, it’s graduation time.

Up to now, the idea of buying a suit was not high on his radar, but over spring break I suggested that we step up the process given that time was running out – especially if something needed to be ordered. We started our trip to a downtown trending shop that specializes in custom men’s clothing. Word was out that March 31 was around the last day to order a suit to be ready in time for Grad. This was foreign territory for both of us, so I was curious about what to expect.

The store had an intimate feeling and a busy atmosphere – with many customers inside, all appearing to be grade 12 grads. We were greeted, filled out a form and proceeded to browse the store. The consultants were all in their twenties, well dressed, pleasant and they seemed knowledgeable.

But this is where the feel good vibe ended. While there appeared to be a quasi-process, the continuity was broken every time we were passed off to a new consultant; which happened three times in the span of an hour!

There were no stock samples to try-on and only 4”x4” fabric swatch books to flip through to get a sense of the available styles. There was little in the way of pairing advice to assist the newbie suit buyer, who was like a fish out of water. In the hour we were in the store, we learned a few things about custom ordering a suit – but not enough to convince me to pull out the credit card.

Girls, I ask, would you spend several hundreds of dollars on a dress you have never tried on?

The night was still young and there was still time for a second opinion. This time we made our way to a men’s big box retailer. Lucky for us, Wednesday was a slow night. We were greeted by a cheerful sales rep and spent the next 75 minutes working through a similar process – but with a much different outcome.

Bree helped us from the moment we walked into the store until the time we left. Samples were available to try on for fit – which enabled a “t-shirt and sneakers kid” to articulate his likes and dislikes. In the end, her ability to pull the look together for my son won the sale. Talk about reading your customer.

Even an inexperienced shopper knows how to identify great customer service. I am sure that as time passes, the memory of buying his first suit will be a positive one.