Your Say: Sales Assistants and how they can make or break your interest in a brand

by Paris B on · 171 comments

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sa brand Your Say: Sales Assistants and how they can make or break your interest in a brand

I was thinking about this recently after a few poor experiences, and a couple of good ones at the counters. My interests in a brand and its products waver a lot, but a good experience keeps me returning to it and a poor experience can make me boycott a brand. Its just how I roll icon smile Your Say: Sales Assistants and how they can make or break your interest in a brand

I personally refuse to buy anything from Make Up For Ever locally, because the SAs at Sephora (where its sold) have, on the 2 occasions I’ve been interested to buy anything, been brusque, pushy and on a memorable occasion, refused to allow me to purchase a foundation I wanted, because to them, I should take one 2 shades darker and more yellow. I know, go figure.

On the other hand, I regularly return to a certain Crabtree & Evelyn store to pick up Christmas goodies or any goodies, because the SA there is a lovely lady who is helpful and friendly no matter when I drop in. Its the sale industry, and like it or not, sales assistants are for many of us, the first point of contact with a brand.

Have you experienced a situation where a poor experience with a sales assistant turns you off a particular brand? Or maybe you had a good experience and that keeps your interest in a brand?

I’ve had another poor experience lately with a sales person of a luxury brand I love – Guerlain. I had had dealings with this lady before and have on more than one occasion made purchases from her primarily because the counter is convenient for me, not because she’s the friendliest person in the world. I’d been snubbed before, but the most recent experience was the last straw.

Without going into detail, over a few visits and communications, I got a surly, almost unpleasant treatment and blasé attitude. I was pushed sets I wasn’t interested in, told I could pay for items first with no guarantee when I might able to pick them up, and it just totally rubbed me the wrong way. I don’t expect to be treated like a beggar by anyone much less at a cosmetics counter. Its just makeup! She actually even said she didn’t mind if I didn’t buy anything from her. Very strange but there you go. An SA who didn’t want to sell me anything I wanted to buy.

Normally, I would have been turned off the brand but as its one I’m a fan of, I chose instead to boycott that counter or specifically, that SA and just go to another one. I later went to a different counter, had a very pleasant experience with a different SA who was friendly and helpful, even without knowing what I was about to purchase. I also had a very pleasant encounter with another SA from the same brand. He was friendly, enthusiastic and helpful so clearly, its just that one person. I know her attitude has turned off not just me but others too. A friend goes out of her way to avoid that specific SA, preferring not to buy anything than give her her business.

Last weekend I was at a Chanel counter where the SAs were quite busy, but one of them took the time to sit me down, test the product I was interested in on my skin, offered some tips on how to use it and was helpful but not pushy in suggesting other items I might be interested in. The brand is one I had lost interest in for a while, but her friendly attitude drew me back in just for a little while.

Brands, if you are reading this, I trust you realise that your sales assistants are the front liners of your brand. A poor experience can turn potential customers right off, and a good experience can turn them into lifelong fans. I personally expect more in service from a luxury brand than I do from a mass consumer or regular department store brand. Its true whether it is cosmetics or accessories. When I don’t get it, I choose not to patronise the stores locally, and buy online instead or just choose to omit the brand totally from my collection. There are so many options these days, loyalty is highly subjective.

Have you had a poor experience that turns you off a brand? Or how about a good one that made you a fan of a brand?

Sometimes, I think its pure luck in discovering a counter with friendly staff. Granted, they are all human and are entitled to a bad day now and again, but I think in the service industry, that bad day should be kept to yourself. I’m not a difficult customer most of the time. I just go to the counter, and tell them what I want, and pay for it. Doesn’t get easier than that. Some customers can be horrible, I know. I’ve seen it and its embarrassing. I know what its like being in the service industry and having a bad day; but sometimes, you just have to suck it up and smile and get the job done, no matter how bad your day may be. That, is good service and that, makes people return.

Paris B

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[ 171 comments… read them below or join the discussion ]

LeGeeque November 27, 2012 at 8:48 am

Oh I could write an entire thesis on this subject. Brands, please listen to us when we say that when we purchase something, we not only purchase the product, we purchase the experience as well. Not many of us can afford a Chanel bag but when we can afford a chanel lipstick, it allows us to have a little slice of luxury to make us feel a little better. Dont sour the experience please.

So, yes, service, service, service.
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dom
Twitter:
November 27, 2012 at 9:35 am

Came here to say this too. It also doesn’t matter if we’re buying RM10 or RM1000 worth of products. If I have a good experience, I’ll buy from you, or find reasons to.
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Paris B
Twitter:
November 29, 2012 at 5:52 pm

Its not just the cosmetics sector that needs to realize this, every service sector has to, especially if they depend on the frontliners to sell their products for them. Yet, this is the one sector they stinge on while splashing money on advertising. Meh.

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Catherine November 27, 2012 at 9:03 am

THIS is a great topic!

I almost exclusively shop in Sephora on Champs elysees and let me tell you- its a busy, full of tourists place. You have to push your way through which surprisingly doesnt equal how busy SAs are! Most of them have no idea what they sell, I made a little test and asked about a serum which I knew doesnt have vitamin C. The SA was SURE that it does! Then there are SAs which are pushy, coming and spraying alcohol-based perfumes near my leather bags, this turns me off immediately. Others are just talking with each other, and while most of time I dont need their help, there are times I would like them to help me search for colour but their friends seem to be more important. There were only some times that I got nice and helpful SA. I just try to ignore it if I came for something I really want or come back another day.

Other good example- Guerlain store on Champs Elysees. And while dealing with like 5 ladies- only ONE was helpful, explained to me differences between foundations and gave me sample. Others had no idea what I mean (new collection? But which one?) or were making big eyes that I get their moisturisers (I get it, Im young… but thats not the reason to treat me worse). Unfortunately I love Guerlain so…

I also remember that lady at Bobbi Brown counter in Printemps, I had to wait some minutes until she would assist me because she was talking on the phone, when she showed me what I wanted and her phone started ringing she just left me and answered… So I got what I wanted at other shop.

I had very good experience at Jo Malone tho, I accidentally sprayed non-tester perfume and she just came and said with smile that shes very sorry but this is not a tester. I was embarrassed but I came back next day and got some colognes and my now favourite lip balm :P

Fashion luxury brands are whole different story, it depends not only of SAs, how busy the shop is and brand but also how I was dressed- which btw shouldnt be the case :P

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Paris B
Twitter:
November 29, 2012 at 5:57 pm

*whine* Why on earth did I not see the Sephora or Guerlain stores on Champs Elysees?! *end whine*

But Catherine, you have highlighted the many problems I see here that I’m actually noticing to be an international trend – SA who would rather chat to their friends, who would rather talk on the phone, who don’t seem to want to make a sale that is waiting for them or who just don’t seem to care. I get that for many of them, its just a job. But I do think the companies who hire them should take a bit of extra trouble to train them, rather than splashing out so much money on incidentals that wouldn’t matter, if no one buys your brand thanks to rude SAs!

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Leila December 3, 2012 at 9:16 am

Catherine, I live in London and it seems the SAs in the tourist areas can be just as bad here! I’ve experienced all you listed at one time or another. The Debenhams on Oxford Street is for the most part, all over awful (a Guerlain SA didn’t even understand when I commented that one pink was cooler than the other, she thought I meant cool like awesome! I’ve found excellent Guerlain SAs elsewhere though), House of Fraser is hit and miss depending on the counter and John Lewis seems quite good (from what little I’ve seen). Selfridges is very good, but each time I’ve been to the Chanel counter, they are awful.

One time a SA joined another who was serving a customer when she saw me approach (she was clearly doing nothing, just avoiding work) and when the other one finished, well she was awful too. They just wanted to chat away together and seemed to resent the interruption. So slow in getting my order, didn’t bother packing nicely and barely a smile. The only reason I ever bother going there is to because it’s a Chanel Studio, so they tend to get some international collections and the very limited boutuique collections.

The problem doesn’t seem to be as bad in other parts of town. In fact, I find it strage that these stores seem to put some of their worst staff in such important branches.

Earlier this year in Paris, I went to the Champs Elysee Sephora and completely forgot to go to the Guerlain right next to it! Right next door! Is it true they somethimes sell some Asia-exclusives in that Guerlain store? You’re right about the service though, although it was absolutely packed and a Sunday so I can’t comment on the rest of the time. One thing in their favour though, they do have pretty good English in that store (nice for when your French vocabulary doesn’t quite cover your needs).

You might think the awful service is because these are very touristic areas, but I had excellent service at the counters in Galerie Lafayette and heaven knows they’re incredibly busy, so I don’t see why the other stores can’t step up their game. One particular SA, I had a great experience with even with a language barrier! I just can’t comprehend how someone is so unmotivated, that they can’t complete a job they are being paid to do!

Overall, brands really need to consider what they’re doing when they hire counter staff. We pay a premium on these products so what’s the point if their own staff can’t help us?

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kuri
Twitter:
November 27, 2012 at 9:06 am

Yes on both! MAC SAs usually turn me off – I just don’t bother talking to them anymore. However, my few MAC purchases were from a super nice MAC SA in the Duty Free counter – she was fun.

At most other brands, I tend to get variable service. The few Chanel SAs I’ve dealt with have been pretty nice though. I find the local beauty shop SAs are less friendly and more pushy though. The counter SAs tend to be better on average.

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Paris B
Twitter:
November 29, 2012 at 6:11 pm

Haha MAC. I have, come to think of it, never had a good experience with their stores. The only place I ever had a decent enough experience to warrant buying anything was at the counter in Isetan Lot 10 locally. Otherwise, I think MAC SAs have the most notorious reputation out there since time immemorial LOL!

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Becca
Twitter:
November 27, 2012 at 9:08 am

Could NOT agree more, Paris!! I seem to always have the worst luck with SA’s for some reason. Sure I’ve met my fair share of really, really nice ones too, but lately it seems I only get treated like crap. :/ Most of the time I am ignored or they are really, really rude to me or get snippy and snooty if I ask for samples (*coughcough* Giorgio Armani counter at South Coast!!). But one of the worst experiences I had recently was actually at a bareMinerals counter. The lady would NOT stop harassing me, trying to tack on other items to my foundation purchase. If she had just asked me once or twice, fine–I can take it. But she kept asking me over and over and OVER and over again. At one point, she even TOLD me “I will just ring you up for the foundation and mineral veil” when I had told her explicitly SEVERAL times at that point that I JUST wanted the foundation. FYI lady–badgering a customer like that will NOT make them want to buy more from you. Just the opposite actually! After I refused the starter set and the blush and the lip gloss and the brushes she kept proffering, she got her fellow SA to start down-talking the setting powders and brushes I had told her I owned at home (which was the reason I gave for not needing them). I was SO pissed off that I just wanted to get away from the counter as fast as possible after I finally paid. I even briefly considered going back and returning the damn foundation and asking for a manager, but I was so fed up I just decided to go home instead of deal with her some more. I feel like excellent customer service is something that is not being drilled into SA’s these days, which is a shame because it really is the most important thing and can definitely put someone off to a brand! Ugh–so frustrating!!
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Paris B
Twitter:
November 29, 2012 at 6:13 pm

Becca, that was a TERRIBLE experience! How could the SA practically force you to buy something you have no interest in? I mean, its your money and if you don’t want it, you don’t want it no matter how wonderful it maybe. Sigh… I seriously think the brands should be focusing more on the front line but they never do.

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Firn November 27, 2012 at 9:10 am

I love a particular SA at the Chanel ION store. She is immaculately groomed and very helpful. She helped me to select my now go-to red lippie shade.
Another good one is one of the ladies manning the Perricone counter in Metro Paragon: good advice and not pushy.

I’ve had all right experiences with SAs here in Singapore. Haven’t had any spectacular ones though.

The worst are those who figure that just because you aren’t going to immediately plonk down the dough to buy some product that you haven’t thoroughly tested, you are poor/trying to get free samples. I just tell them I have very sensitive skin and I’m only going to buy if I get to road test a sample first.

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Paris B
Twitter:
November 29, 2012 at 6:14 pm

Oh yes, for some people, handing out a sample just so you can try a product before buying is sacrilege, or that we’d take the sample and not return. I always wonder why, when that’s the point of a sample, right?

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Firn November 30, 2012 at 10:08 am

I think they are more likely to give out samples if you already bought something (but what’s the point unless you are keen on trying out a new product of theirs) or if you look like you could afford it but are worried about adverse reactions.

I did get lots of samples from the store I get my Nuxe stuff from. They don’t have samples for everything but the assistant did give me generous samples of what they had.

I was also advised to bring small containers to get samples of GA’s Maestro foundation but I haven’t tried that yet! I think the BA would be too snooty to let me try a sample but I already have the full sized foundation but I’m wondering if there is a better shade match.

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Leila December 3, 2012 at 9:36 am

Firn, absolutely get the little pots for samples! Especially when buying foundations. I was once trying to get a specific foundation sample from a certain brand and each time I went (to multiple counters, a couple in different cities) they told me they were out of little pots. It almost seemed as though it was their policy, it was so coincidental.

Another time, I wanted to try a foundation for a different brand and the SA said the same thing. I said don’t worry, I have a couple of pots here. Well, she couldn’t say anything after that though she seemed unwilling! Even after trying to engage her, showing I know the products so I am clearly intending to buy. We shouldn’t have to go to so much work!

I felt awkward asking, but actually it was ok in the end. I keep a couple in my bag now, after that occassion. I don’t trust most SAs to match me correctly anymore and had I gone with her suggestion, I would have ended up two shades dark. Went with my sister another time and got a seamless match with her help, no need for the SA.

Sometimes, the SAs seem taken aback and unwilling when you ask for a sampl, even when you’ve bought something! That one I completely don’t understand.

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Joy Chong
Twitter:
November 27, 2012 at 9:10 am

I used to purchase Clinique skincare from one particular counter and only from the 1 BA. Then when he left, I stopped using Clinique. Maybe also because I found other alternatives.

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Paris B
Twitter:
November 29, 2012 at 6:16 pm

I think skincare is so tricky and I tend to listen to the SA more so a SA who actually gives good service will get more business. With makeup, you can quite easily see what works and what doesn’t.

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Lily
Twitter:
November 27, 2012 at 9:24 am

Service is very important to me. I’ve been in the service industry myself for over 10 years, so I know how it feels like too. Competition is stiff out there, and the competitive edge to a brand is the human touch. We love feeling good and it’s the emotional connection that brings us back to the brand. Like you, if I love that brand and get crappy service, I’d simply go to another counter or get help from someone else. However, if it really ticked me off, I’d avoid that brand altogether. Same for PR unfortunately.
Seriously, dear brands out there, luxury or not, if you snub us enough, you’ll get snubbed in the end too. If we don’t buy from you, we’ll simply buy from someone else. That slice of pie is only that big.
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Paris B
Twitter:
November 29, 2012 at 6:18 pm

Haha yes, PR gets to me too especially if coupled with not too pleasant experiences with products or at the counter. But from a consumer point of view, the SA is the one who usually makes or breaks it for me. I sometimes wonder if they think they are doing something right by behaving the way they do. I guess so, if no one complains.

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Jenn
Twitter:
November 27, 2012 at 9:27 am

“Granted, they are all human and are entitled to a bad day now and again, but I think in the service industry, that bad day should be kept to yourself.” – I agree with this 100%!! Sadly, most of the SAs I’ve encountered in Penang are either snotty, extremely pushy or downright blatant liars (the memory of a particularly brazen one from Lancome comes to mind – she told me that I needed to buy THREE tubes of the spot eraser at one go because I will use them all up in less than a month. Hello!! Not one, not two, but THREE tubes in a month ok! I must have seemed like a really stupid / gullible person or she’s doing that just to shoo me away from her counter! Lol!)! I get mostly the snotty ones though, cuz I’m always shopping in shorts and slippers and look absolutely like someone who will be a waste of their precious time (ie. poor), but still, it’s no excuse for that kind of behaviour! :P The few nice ones are the ones whom I go back to over and over again (and are most successful at “suckering” me into purchasing their products) – its all in the purchase experience! :D
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mrsdjones
Twitter:
November 27, 2012 at 1:30 pm

I am from Penang too! Yes, I find it hard to find a good and helpful SAs. I mostly shop at Queensbay mall. Most of them are snobby and pushy. The most helpful SA I’ve found so far is from Gurney Plaza’s Bobbi Brown. She is so nice, patient and friendly too. I buy a lot of items from her! :p

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Paris B
Twitter:
November 29, 2012 at 6:19 pm

What the… 3 tubes of Spot Eraser in one month? You should have asked if the product was that useless that you would need 3 tubes instead of just one LOL! I like going shopping in shorts and slippers too especially on weekends, with a bare face. Its a great way to test for service and usually, its a poor one LOL! If I come across someone who’d treat me nicely, boy, do they get a sale! ;)

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xin
Twitter:
November 27, 2012 at 9:32 am

ahhh! MAC is one of those I never walk into ever since my first experience years ago. When i was still in U, I went to the MAC in MV to purchase an eye shadow or something, but no one bothered to even entertain me! The SAs were just sitting around chatting with each other, I was obviously pissed off, and walked out empty handed. since then, i never look back.
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Paris B
Twitter:
November 29, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Oh yes, MAC. Infamous for poor service yet so popular. I don’t get it.

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Victoria December 3, 2012 at 12:45 pm

Hi Paris. I just discovered your blog by accident while researching on Thalgo products. You have a great blog :-) I bought most of my MAC products at the counter in Sogo and I must say I have not experience any poor service before. There were once or twice where their SA were too busy to entertain me but otherwise, they are ok. I have not tried other outlets though. MAC products especially their foundation sooth my skin tone and also reasonably price. So I have been using them for years.

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Paris B
Twitter:
December 4, 2012 at 10:41 pm

Thanks Victoria! Perhaps you got lucky :) I have never had a good experience except maybe once or twice but thats good for me because it allowed me to move away from MAC and onto better brands :D

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Tammy November 27, 2012 at 9:34 am

‘refused to allow me to purchase a foundation I wanted…….’ wow! I can’t believe what I read! How rude is that. Do they know they are there to serve. So they say, customer is king. (In your case, queen!)

I walk away even if I am interested if they are rude. Some look like they own the stores. Funny!

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Paris B
Twitter:
November 29, 2012 at 6:20 pm

I know, Tammy. Its so weird that she absolutely refused to get me the shade I wanted! It was so ridiculous, I left.

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Ginger November 27, 2012 at 9:38 am

Yes! I’m turned off by the CD SA at the only CD branch here. I’m the type of person who bears no nonsense when it comes to cosmetics and skin care. If it doesn’t work for me before it won’t work for me the next time. I don’t believe in all the hype of a product. But each time I went to the counter to ask for a specific product she pushes another product instead. This product being CD One Essential which I’ve tried and it didn’t work on me before! I know she’s just doing her job but there’s no excuse for her disparaging remarks like I look so wan, aged, pale and not polished. But the CD One Essential will eliminate all that! Usually, when I’m out shopping I only have foundation and sunscreen on. And surprisingly I’ve been told actually I look younger than my age. Anyway, I only buy the press powder & mascara from this brand and if I need to replenish I either go to KL or order from Strawberry Net.
My favourite SA’s are from L’Occitane, especially the ones here in Melaka. The exception is the SAs from L’Occitane Pavilion who look down their nose at me when I asked if they have stock of Immortelle Brightening Cleansing Foam Eco-Refill and was unhelpful after that. To be fair I only went there twice and it was a few years ago. But the second time I went there with my hubby and asked for the same product, he said I didn’t imagine their looks. I hope they’ve replaced these SA’s with ones that are more eco conscious.

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Paris B
Twitter:
November 29, 2012 at 10:59 pm

I think the problem is sometimes, the SA pushes the product du jour either to meet their sales target or because they are told to, and they’ll find any reason to sell you that product. Few, if any really care about what you really want. Pity huh? If they were a little more helpful we might actually return!

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Issa November 27, 2012 at 9:40 am

Of course, I’ve had a few bad encounters with some SA’s but there are also good ones. There was even a time that I was just looking on what’s new with Clinique products and even if I’m not planning to purchase anything, I ended up buying a lot because of that very helpful SA! not pushy and very accommodating :) There was also a time that I am about to purchase something but ended up going to another counter because of a bad experience so I guess service is really important. :)

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Paris B
Twitter:
November 29, 2012 at 11:15 pm

A good and helpful SA can sell me anything I swear! Lol that’s happened to me many times too and i always go away happy, not feeling like I just had to beg for the privilege to be served.

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Sukie November 27, 2012 at 9:53 am

Hello! I think we had the same problem with the same Guerlain SA. I actually made a call to Lux Asia enquiring as to why that particular counter still hasn’t received their Christmas collection. By then I already paid for the products and i perhaps I made the mistake of making this known to them. Within minutes I receive a call from that very SA who raised her voice at me saying I shouldn’t have said anything to HQ and that she didn’t have credit on her phone to call me and inform me that the products will be arriving the next day. What an excuse! When I went to collect the products a few days later she was incredibly surly but then again I was expecting that of her anyway ;) nevertheless it has put me off getting any products from that particular counter. Had I not harbour so much love for Guerlain I would boycott the brand completely. Sigh. Now can anyone please tell me of a Guerlain counter with lovely customer service? It irks me when we are paying customers yet we receive such treatment! :(

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Sukie November 27, 2012 at 9:55 am

Eep!! All those grammatical errors! Sorry about that! I’m typing from my slightly wonky phone and of course, with great distaste. ;)

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nia
Twitter:
November 27, 2012 at 10:48 am

I have approached a Guerlain counter at Sogo KL last September to try out their new foundation. She was rather helpful, I suppose, but she do seem to prefer to serve her regulars or those ladies who dressed immaculately. I guess the ladies seem like a more potential customer then I was. Oh well…

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Paris B
Twitter:
November 29, 2012 at 11:30 pm

That’s the biggest mistake these SAs make. They rather serve a potential sale who is dressed up nicely than a less dressed confirmed sale. I don’t get it but I love confusing them by turning up in shorts :P I haven’t shopped the Sogo counter but I met one of the SA (male) from there who was at Isetan Gardens for a spell. That one was super friendly to everyone!

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Paris B
Twitter:
November 29, 2012 at 11:20 pm

Ugh it does sound like the same person, and from other reports it looks like we’re not the only ones! I’m actually appalled that she had the cheek to call you after you complained. I only JUST got the call to check out the Xmas stuff 2 days ago, incidentally after this post was published. By which time of course, I’d already taken my custom to another counter. Try the Isetan KLCC counter next time. That’s where I went instead.

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Rakanishu November 27, 2012 at 9:55 am

As a guy going to cosmetic/skincare counters can be a daunting task. On a few occasions I am the only customer at the counter but the SA will take ages to come over. If there are other customers around, God help me because I will get served last. Nowadays I am quite familiar with one SA and she recognizes me when i drop by her counter. So it’s a simple task of telling her what I need and me walking to the cashier to pay.

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Catherine November 28, 2012 at 11:54 pm

Im surprised! When I send my boyfriend to get me something or if we separate in store there will be always one smiling happy SA to help him and follow him everywhere…

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Paris B
Twitter:
November 29, 2012 at 11:22 pm

Maybe The SA aren’t used to a guy stopping by their counter? :) its no excuse of course, and the SA should know better! It’s good to know you have found a counter or rather person who takes the trouble. Sometimes, that’s all it takes to have a loyal customer.

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Alexandra November 27, 2012 at 9:58 am

On one occasion, I was looking into changing my entire skincare and happily went out to scout for new potentials. I went to Estee Lauder and Clinique counters and boy…..their ” You are not an important customer “attitudes stands out more than their products! That was a turning point for me and it reflects poorly on the brand. But being me, I wrote back my experiences to them…unfortunately, only was was apologetic.

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Paris B
Twitter:
November 29, 2012 at 11:24 pm

I’ve found that sometimes, the biggest brands may not be the best place to go because for some reason, their SA have a funny attitude. It’s a pity because those are also the more well known and visible ones!

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Nikki November 27, 2012 at 10:11 am

Oh man!! This is a whole new topic about rude and friendly SAs! I’m lucky enough to have met mostly friendly SAs and they definitely will be rewarded with me purchasing more if they are nice enough!!! Gosh! I don’t get it why SAs have to be rude and look down on people base on what they plan to purchase, come on, sales are sales and at the end of the day, it adds up and reflects her “job”!

In my case, if the SA is rude, I will definitely ignore her and not visit that specific counter like a plague!

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Paris B
Twitter:
November 29, 2012 at 11:25 pm

You are most certainly lucky, Nikki! Or maybe customer service where you are is better :) sometimes I wonder. If politeness and a smile can score you a sale, won’t that be better than a sour face that doesn’t get you anything? People are weird.

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shusheshe
Twitter:
November 27, 2012 at 10:21 am

I’ve been turned off of Toni Moly now due to an awful SA I encountered in Seoul. While it was nice she spoke excellent Chinese so we could communicate, her attitude was just awful. On the other hand, I’d go back to Missha there because the SAs there, who could only speak a few words of Chinese and English, was friendly and animated and non-pushy. I’m also blah on Smashbox as well due to pushy SAs.

I really wish they’d understand that I’m likely to buy more and come back if you’re friendly and helpful!

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Paris B
Twitter:
November 29, 2012 at 11:28 pm

Haha you reminded me of my experience at a Holika Holika store in Seoul. I was browsing and a lovely male SA came up and could speak English, and was very lovely in recommending all sorts of things because I wasn’t familiar with the brand! Threw in loads of freebies and samples and posters and although I wasn’t expecting to buy anything, I walked away with a nice bag of stuff. In contrast, an SA at Tony Moly took back the pack of cotton pads she’d initially given me, because I didn’t buy anything.

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Efrain
Twitter:
November 27, 2012 at 10:52 am

Well, in fact last Friday I was in a dermatological drugstore (I don’t even know if that’s the word for that kind of shops in English, but I refer to the ones that sells skincare of more “medical” brands like Avène, Vichy, etc.) searching for a new cleanser because the one I had made my skin dry and itchy (this is another story) I was browsing and then a SA asked what I was searching and immediately show me one and after that the complete kit and I was like stop girl go a little more slow.

So I moved myself to other part of the store and saw Vichy and La Roche-Posay counter and started to talk with the SA, she recommended me a product but only after of listened my story and asked some questions; she saw my face of insecurity and gave a big sample of it. We started to talk and after 20 minutes I didn’t buy anything but left the store with 6 samples. I liked the cleanser and I going to buy it there only for the SA.

Yes brands make your SA friendly person, that their purpose is sell, but no in a rude form, we don’t want a stalker seller or one of the type “I don’t care about your opinion, just bought this one”.
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Paris B
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November 29, 2012 at 11:32 pm

Is great to know there was an SA who would listen to you and then recommend what you might need! I think that is wonderful service and now, she has a confirmed customer in you!

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Tine
Twitter:
November 27, 2012 at 11:05 am

MAC, darling! That brand is living proof that it’s possible to boycott a brand simply because of bad service. I don’t know if they have good products or not (I’m sure they have some), but I simply refuse to try because I can’t even walk to the counter without feeling like a 2nd class citizen.

On the other hand, I have purchased things I don’t really like or have use for simply because the sales staff were excellent. It’s the “aww you’ve been so lovely to me I feel bad for not buying anything so here please ring this up for me” feeling :D
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Paris B
Twitter:
November 29, 2012 at 11:35 pm

Ahahahahaaa… Yes MAC. I haven’t even looked at the brand in yonks and part of the problem stemmed from poor service, and the other from poor makeovers. I never had any luck with them. Oh, and I’ve bought stuff just cos the SA was nice to me too! If not for myself then for a gift.

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nia
Twitter:
November 27, 2012 at 11:11 am

I agree with u 100%

If the SA treats me poorly, then I will boycott the brand. If I really desperately want to buy from the brand, then I will find other counters or online.

If the SA is friendly – even when I don’t make purchases, I will keep returning, recommend to my friends and family and find reasons to make purchase.

Even this cause & effect is not entirely only beauty related, all sales experiences have this impact on customers. I recently went on a quotation spree for household appliance, when I went to this particular shop and asked the salesperson for Product A, I was instead laughed at and talked down upon; and surely I am avoiding that particular shop & brand (that was recommended).

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Paris B
Twitter:
November 29, 2012 at 11:38 pm

In a sense, I’m really happy to shop online. It cuts out the stress associated with dealing with SAs. Yet on the other hand, it’s so risky because you never know if whatever you’re buying (if something new) will suit you. Another problem I have is when shopping for something like computers. Some places have people who are so disinterested to serve I wonder why they are even holding that job!

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Vicky November 27, 2012 at 11:25 am

I have stopped buying Chanel products for years now and it was mainly due to the SAs especially those at Parkson Pavilion. There was this one time which really put me off, was there buying their whitening products and half way through a few High-so (in Bangkok it means ladies of leisure dress to nine with nothing better to do) walked in tested some of the lipsticks and my SA was too eager to serve them rather than wrap up her sales with me and mind you the products I am about to buy easily cost 10 times more than the lipsticks. Some SAs really have attitude problems.

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Paris B
Twitter:
November 29, 2012 at 11:39 pm

I actually had a decent experience at Chanel Pavilion the 2 times I was there but I will have to say that Chanel SAs do tend to be among the snootier ones, for sure. I rarely get one who will even smile but whenever in do I always seem to pick up something. Hmm…

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Claire November 27, 2012 at 11:45 am

Oh, that was actually a huge topic among my friends lately. I agree with you 100%! Often people tell me, I look younger, well, that’s nice but almost every time I go to a specific counter and want to buy something, they tell me: teenagers don’t need a red/vampy lipstick, you are waaaay too young. hm. When I tell them how old I am, they look at me and just go to another customer.
The same happened with skincare: you don’t need that, you have good skin, blah, blah and refused to sell me a cream. hm. The worst thing is when they make you feel stupid. Most of the time I know what I want and I refuse nicely if they keep asking/saying that I ‘should’ (aka pushing) try this or that. I have my favourite stores where I shop, I don’t go to the other ones anymore.

I had very bad experience with Guerlain SA and I just adore this brand. I now have a very lovely and unbelievably nice SA, who really is actually interested in what ‘you’ say and is listening, etc. I have to say, till now, I never had a bad experience with a Dior SA, I am not very in love with this brand (ok, this changes now a bit, they released some awesome products) but I told the SA that and she still was nice, gave me some samples and said: please come back and tell me what you didn’t like, we care about every customer. amazing, I think she loves her job as well (and tbh, sometimes I feel, like some people shouldn’t work at retail).

I could go on and on, lol. Guerlain, if you are listening, I love you but please … a lot of your SA are just rude.

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Paris B
Twitter:
November 29, 2012 at 11:42 pm

Oh my, Claire, this problem seems quite universal! I can’t believe we are ranting about SAs from the same brands lol! I do try not to tar the brand after a poor experience but I guess we can’t help it especially if its our first experience with it. If I wasn’t familiar with Guerlain already, I might just swear off the brand thanks to the sour puss SA or in another instance, disinterested trainee.

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Carol November 27, 2012 at 12:17 pm

Oh, totally agree with u on the MUFE part! I am a big fan of MUFE cosmetics, especially their foundation. But ever since it’s being sold exclusively only at Sephora, I started to wander to other brands, reason mainly being the attitude of the SA’s and also the lack of perks. Well, I used to always get some free gifts with every purchase, but since it was sold as Sephora – not anymore. And I notice, most of the SAs in Malaysia are not really very experienced – especially those working in a store like Sephora, where alot of other cosmetics brand are sold. I feel that since they’re not dedicated to one brand only, they don’t really take the effort to learn the history/story behind the brand – this their lack of understanding on the brand’s image. And being the end user, I tend to be deterred from purchasing a certain brand when the SA don’t know what they’re talking about. I mean consumers nowadays are so much smarter, most of them did research, read blogs for instance before purchasing. So when SA tell me for instance, how I should take care of my skin, it annoys me. Because every person’s skin is different. And yes, I do know I need to double cleanse if I use makeup. And I also know which shade of foundation I am. Honestly, it annoys me, when I am wanting to try out a new foundation, and when they ask which shade I am, I ask them to try out – they always manage to give me something darker. And the lighting in the shop really isn’t helping as well. Sorry for ranting Paris, but honestly, I really hope SA’s are well trained before they’re ready to be put to work. They really are the first point of contact with a brand. If they’re rude, or sounds too pushy, or worse – not knowing what their brand’s image is all about, I think its a put off.

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Paris B
Twitter:
November 29, 2012 at 11:45 pm

Oh good, Carol, it’s not just me being sensitive about the MUFE SAs at Sephora! I gotta agree with you. The brands really should invest a little more in training their staff. They are the ones selling it after all, and advertising can only bring awareness not sales. Oh and you get the darker foundation thing too? It’s weird huh? It’s like, whatever happened to wearing foundation that suits MY skintone? Lol

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Eli November 27, 2012 at 12:55 pm

I had lovely service from a Guerlain SA at Pavilion last year. For the life of me, I can’t remember her name but I do remember her face. The next time I went back, I was served by a younger and much snarkier SA. Such a turnoff!

Good customer service is a huge thing for me because it reflects the company’s culture and training. Unfortunately, the quality of customer service for most places is really bad unless you are dressed up or with a group of Datin-types. I remember being ignored at a Lancome counter when my mother and her friends coincidentally turned up. The SA rushed over to fawn over them and tried to brush me off when I walked over. She turned beet red and sullen once she realised that one of them was my mother. We ended up going to another Lancome counter instead.

I usually stick to the Clinique and Chanel counters in Suria Sabah. The customer base is much smaller there so the SAs really make an effort to provide great service.

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Paris B
Twitter:
November 29, 2012 at 11:47 pm

It must have been funny seeing the reaction when the realization dawned that ou were related to the woman she was trying to impress! The thing about a brand like Lancôme is that there are usually counters in every major department store so really, if they are in a mall, they better buck up because it’s a matter of walking just less than 5 minutes to find another counter who might provide better service!

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bita November 27, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Very smart of you to write about this issue. However I ignore the bad experiences and good ones make me come back again and again.

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Paris B
Twitter:
November 29, 2012 at 11:48 pm

I try not to ignore but I do make a conscious effort not to patronize a counter or an SA I’ve had a bad experience with. Why repeat the agony ;)

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