A lifetime of ensuring that my employers receive my best and that I am watching out for their interests and long-term success, has prompted me to again confirm that I am one of the best employees and customer service providers that I know.
I had recently decided that my life would be 'easier' or more simplified, if I again worked for an ethical, professional and well-established multi-million dollar company that supplies quality products - whose business has only thrived over the past twelve months.
Two days in, I saw incredible negatives that impact the company and the brand, through mediocre customer service stemming from irrational, self-indulgent management staff who are whimsical with staffs' time and effort and that of their customers - customers who are certainly not in-store at anyone's 'disposal'.
Seriously, who can afford to throw away thousands of dollars in sales per day, simply through inexcusable, self-indulgent disorganisation and carelessness by management staff?
As someone who observes, assesses and has no reservations in speaking up for the betterment of others, I did exactly that. To ensure no misinterpretation, I submitted an outline to improve customers' experience in-store and also outlined basic, good staff behaviour, to help ensure that the 'brand' is not needlessly open to negative feedback.
Once again, I'm taken back to the successful companies I've worked for previously, that put in all the time, energy and finances required for top-notch brand representation - so that favourable interest by the consumer is ignited - only to have funds and effort shot down by inappropriate and self-indulgent management staff who have as a priority, stroking their egos and those of other staff whom they believe will ensure their job security, regardless of the negative impact they ensure at customer service and sales level.
I am aware of my value as a curator, supplier, retailer and customer service person, but I'm still not willing to commit to ridiculous commercial leasing costs in a location where negotiation to achieve reasonable rent is impossible. However, I am completely aware of my passion for sourcing and sharing beautiful, high-quality products at appropriate prices, and creating that moment of uplifting escapism via a lovely, interesting and insightful in-store experience.
Unfortunately, being an internet retailer leaves you open to mischief and scamming that you simply do not experience in-store, and you've got to use your better judgement to determine who is messing with you and your business, and who is a genuine enquiry.
While I have access to the most beautiful products, outstanding designers and suppliers, and on-line shopping saves so much time for customers, it is also clear that human beings benefit from personal interaction and visiting those establishments where a caring retailer has created a wonderful selection and ensures a pleasing in-store experience.
Personally, I 'only' shop where the customer service is good to excellent, but I know so many who don't care enough about supporting those who deserve it. Imagine how much customer service would be elevated, if we all actioned more support for those who care about their customers - and of course if management staff who source their closest friendships from their staff pool, where just as interested in their customers' right to quality service.
In the meantime, I consider that life can be too short and I have no desire to waste any more time with 'less than excellent quality' establishments.
As I have begun to enjoy vlogs that take you on shopping sprees, cooking sessions, gardening, etc, I wonder if my most sensible step forward is to utilize this format and try to create that feeling of interacting in-store and being informed, entertained and encouraged to take a moment to sit, relax, observe and enjoy a beverage in the company of respectful and caring people - the in-store experience I first began delivering under the 'STYLE ....' brand from 2002.
I cannot stand the sound of my own voice and I certainly have no desire to be in front of the camera, so I don't know how I'm going to take those steps forward to utilize video, as a means of creating an uplifting, in-store experience.
My favourite suppliers in no particular order - just scanning my website in my mind - Ecolour, Masini, Bodecare, St Albans, Buckley & Phillips, Rapee/Maison, Jasmine & Will, Abide Interiors, Style Life, Saarinen Organics, Victoria Linen, Uniqwa, Penguin Random House - with more to come...
One of the most heartwarming and uplifting marketing images - featuring a version of the Cross Back Dining Chair from Abide Interiors, and nature at its best ... with credit to gloss.propertystyling & sarahecreative...