Posted by: Matthew Molinari | May 21, 2012

Service Gap

Yesterday I went shopping at the Gap and ran into an interesting situation that every business must deal with. I entered the store about 15 minutes before they were scheduled to close. As I was browsing, a sales clerk came up to me and mentioned that the jeans were on sale, I said thank you and she walked away.

When I entered the store, I didn’t even look at the hours so I was unaware they would be closing soon. The sales clerk also didn’t mention anything about the fact they would closing the store in 10 minutes. If I had any idea, I would have just left the store and come back. By the time the employees mentioned they were closing, I was in the dressing room with a pile of clothes to try on. Now that I was aware, I was in the middle of trying things on and not about to rush out of the store but the clerks were clearly trying to push me out of the store so they could close up.

In my mind, they had their opportunity to mention something and I would have left without thinking twice about it. I sped up my purchasing process once finding out and ended up spending over $200 but at the register you could tell the clerk was still in a rush and ended up just shoving my clothes into a bag leaving them wrinkled.

Now, I’ve worked at a clothing retailer (TJ Maxx) and at restaurants where lingering customers can be frustrating but in each instance our managers made it very clear that under no circumstance were you to rush a customer out of the store. If you were open when they came in then it was up to you to be available for them until they were done shopping or eating.

I recently talked with a local restaurant owner who nearly fired a server for not offering the last customers of the night dessert. If you operate a customer service oriented business (aren’t they all?) then you need to train your employees to understand that as long as they are on the clock, they need to be fully engaged in ensuring they are giving full service to each and every customer.

I’ll be honest, I’ll probably end up going back to the Gap at some time but I’ll make it a point to never go back to the one at the Summit Mall in Reno just because of the way they rushed me out even after they saw how much I was buying. What sort of techniques do you employ to ensure that your employees work diligently the entire time they are on the clock?



  1. Good blog, I think we have all done that.

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