Meikah Delid over at CustServ recently had a negative shopping experience at Louis Vuitton. The up-scale retailer displayed a rather snooty attitude towards Meikah, and apparently it isn’t an isolated incident. Sampson Lee at Customer Think wrote a post detailing how customers "hate" the experience shopping at the LV stores:
"What is the ‘pain point’ at Louis Vuitton retail stores? Besides price,
from the responses I received, it’s the ‘attitude’ of the
salesladies—unless you’re a celebrity or dress and look like a ‘rich’
person—they usually ignore you. I’ve been told this is a consistent
experience across the globe, not country or region specific."
LV is an exclusive brand providing an exclusive product to an exclusive customer base. Sampson points out that women will put up with the snooty experience to receive the emotional reward of buying and owning the exclusive product. My question is: if your customers want your product so badly that they will endure a hostile shopping experience to acquire it, does that justify delivering a hostile shopping experience? It would seem that Vuitton has decided being snooty, prejudiced and judgmental is an important part of their brand.
One of our group members, Bene’ Zehr, used to be a successful sales associate at a dealership selling exclusive brands of autos. She often relates her lesson of never judging a customer who walks through your door. The well appointed customer with a George Hamilton tan and killer smile may just be a con-man. The dirty, poor-looking slacker may be a dot com gazillionaire. You can’t tell by looking. Bene’ learned to treat every person who walked through the door as though they were her best customer.
I wonder how many potential customers have chosen not to buy at Luis Vuitton because they were snubbed by the sales people?
The most profitable course is to treat your customers – all your customers – with respect and to serve each one well.