By  on May 19, 2009

Well aware that shoppers — that is, the ones that are still out there — haven’t the time, inclination or patience to hunt down the customer service department, more retailers are leaning on sales associates to ensure consumers leave happy. And face it: After months of this economic slide, most business executives are savvy enough to know a little cheerfulness goes a mighty long way.

While customer service departments haven’t vanished, they are no longer the epicenter for most consumer queries or complaints. Macy’s, Lord & Taylor and Saks Fifth Avenue are encouraging salespeople to interact more with shoppers to ensure they are getting just what they are after. For many staffers, that means double duty, since sales forces have been reduced in recent months.

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