How much should a sale associate "assist" you while you are shopping (clothing)

United States
September 1, 2010 12:17pm CST
My wife and I run a clothing store. I have always wondered how much people want to be assisted when they enter the store. I usually just give them a greeting and leave it at that. I know when I go to the mall, I hate it when the sales clerks follow me around and comment on everything I look at or try to sell me something I dont need. My question is: how much is too much, and do you really want anything other than a cheerful greeting when you enter a store (specifically a clothing store). Thanks in advance for the responses!
3 people like this
43 responses
• United States
1 Sep 10
I've been in retail for over 20 years..well, out of work at this very moment, but worked in many different retail fields. Anyways, I use to acknowledge the person first with a hello, and, is there anything I can help you find? If they said no, not at this time, I would leave them alone for about 10-15 minutes but always keeping an eye on them, in case they looked puzzled. After about 15 minutes I would then come up to them again, and ask them if they were finding everything ok. It's simple to do. You are not bothering anyone or following them around, but you are watching them without them even knowing it. Never, ever did I follow a person around the store, I think that is very disrespectful to begin with, unless you suspect theft. Sometimes you can spot them when they walk in the door and although you shouldn't follow them, it's good to be in close range straightening clothing so you look busy. Otherwise, I've seen people and myself included, walk out the door when someone is following me around and suggesting all the time what to buy. Bad, bad, bad. Good luck to you!
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Sep 10
Ooops, forgot one thing...sometimes it's nice after you ask them if they need help, to mention your name, like, my name is Lulubelle and if you need anything just let me know, I'll be there in a flash.
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Sep 10
Very well put. You definitely have to develop a skill for reading your customers. There are times where they may be confused about something or wondering if there is another size, etc. The ability to walk the fine line between being helpful and annoying is a skill that must be learned :O)
2 people like this
• United States
1 Sep 10
You're so right, but unfortunately, most people today don't care about customer service. It's a shame and soon I think it's going to be a lost art. It use to be you went to work to WORK. Nowadays, they go to work, do nothing extra, get paid, and go home. I always looked at it as a form of job security. The happier the customer, the more they buy, the more they come back, and the more they'll recommend you to their friends. The more money spent, keeps the shop open. Not like that anymore, as I said, no one cares.
1 person likes this
@JoyfulOne (6242)
• United States
1 Sep 10
I think the most important thing is for the sales person to acknowledge you're there by saying hello, and telling me 'if you need any help, just let me know.' I'd much rather have this approach than to be followed around while I'm shopping. I remember one time while on a shopping excursion with the gal pals. We go into this clothing store and immediately this clerk comes over to help. It made us all very uncomfortable because we felt like we weren't trusted with their merchandise. (We're in our 50's and dress nicely) With her following us around, we felt like we were 'suspicious characters' or something lol. We have never gone back to that store to spend our money! I think a nice friendly approach, with the offer to help if needed, is the nicest way all around. The customer who's being tailed, feels like we're being pushed into a sale. Another thing, if I may. When a customer comes in, and the clerk is on the phone (and the customer is standing at the counter), it would be nice if the associate could at least make eye contact and acknowledging we're there waiting. The index finger 'just a minute' sign, with a smile is a plus. I have actually walked out of a store and left the merchandise on the counter (unbought) because I was waiting forever and the clerk turned their back to me like I was invisible. I don't care if I have to wait, but ignored is another thing. Good luck with your store!
1 person likes this
• United States
1 Sep 10
The phone comment is a gem. I always acknowledge the customer and usually cover the mouthpiece to the phone and say " I'll be right with you" with a smile....it's common courtesy, but sometimes I wonder if it is a lost art!!
• United States
1 Sep 10
Wow, what a sad experience..she turned her back to you! I've been in retail for many years and was always taught, when there is a customer in line that they get priority because they are the paying customers, and that the phone call can wait. This is the best way to do it. She was not taught correctly. When my boss would call me at the store and a customer came up to the front counter, I told him I had to go because I had a customer...there was NEVER a problem with this, they always let me go and never kept me on the phone. The customer came first.
• United States
1 Sep 10
very true!
@thebest1 (658)
• Romania
1 Sep 10
Hello,Devildog! Oh,my God,I really hate when seller or someone else follow me and explain me how beautiful are this t shirt or these shoes!!!I don't want this!!!Never!LOL I think a simple smile,nice and a "welcome" or few words is enogh!You know...when seller follow me...I feel like a kid who needs his mom because he don't know anything about shopping!This is my opinion! Have a nice evening!
• United States
1 Sep 10
I think you are absolutly correct. I dont need someone to treat me like a child either. If I go into a place and they just say "Hello, let me know if you need anything" and then leave me alone, I feel relaxed and take my time shopping!
@thebest1 (658)
• Romania
1 Sep 10
Yes....after all shopping is for relaxing not for stressing people ha ha ha!Good luck with your store!
• India
2 Sep 10
devildog683 Shoppers I feel are like an assortment of kids with different needs. Some prefer to shop in singles, quietly in corner and be unobtrusive needing the sale associate to pick thing up or point to the right area of interest. Some are like spoilt brats needing some body constantly in their command to do that and this before they are convinced into buying a stuff. Personally, the first few remarks of the customer would point to what sort of shoppe he or she is and we can tackle accordingly!
• United States
2 Sep 10
very true, that goes back to the need to read your customers and treat them accordingly!
• Philippines
13 Sep 10
As a costumer in a shopping area, i would like to be assisted by the sales associates by simply first greeting me to have a nice shopping. It would be irritated on my part if the sales associate will continue to follow me around while shopping. Her presence in my questions will be enough for me to be assisted well. Shopping is such a very enjoyable situation where i can treat myself from my success and happiness.
@999777 (5)
13 Sep 10
I like when seller saying hello/having a simple smile and telling me if you need any help, just let me know. But I hate when seller follow me and explain how beautiful/great are the t-shirt is. As retailer we must trained our employee to show respect to our customer. Your employee also must stand near the product line so that the costumers need help they can easily approach them. In this way we can give our costumers the privacy to choose what they want.
@999777 (5)
13 Sep 10
I like when seller saying hello or having a simple smile and telling me if you need any help, just let me know. But I hate when the seller follow me and explain how beautiful/great are the t-shirt is. As retailer we must trained our employee to show respect to the customer. Like your employee must stand up near the products so that the costumers needs help they can easily approach them. In this way we can give our customer the privacy to choose what they want.
@puccagirl (7316)
• Israel
12 Sep 10
I prefer to shop alone and only get assistance when I need it, and then I am perfectly capable of asking for it myself. So I am okay with them greeting me and then leaving me alone as well. That's the way I like it!
@pipo18 (3)
• Philippines
11 Sep 10
Well, its part of their job to do such.... But at times, its too much. Me too I hate that attitude of a sales clerk. They tell too much info's about their products/services which make it exaggerated. They make the customers ignorant of the thing. A cheerful greeting is enough (for me) to receive from them when entering their shop.
• Philippines
9 Sep 10
Sales Associates really have the tendency to be annoying but they are just trying to assist you and make you feel welcomed in the company. It is also their job to recommend the products that they sell a simple no thanks as a answer to them would let them know you are not interested and by that they must back off already. A simple greeting if the customer comes in is a good start but the sales associate must know when to butt in and when not to. A good sales associate must also be sensitive with the body language that the clients are showing them. The Associate should not follow them around instead they should just be ready if they would be called for assistance. They must not interfere with the clients choice of products instead they must compliment the choice after the client makes up their mind. The associate must also respect the clients choice and privacy.
@junalyn (17)
• Philippines
9 Sep 10
_for me I'm that type also of person who doesn't need to be assisted and to be followed everywhere i am. Its simply irritating for me to be so much assisted because it seems that I am a thieves who is not trusted to do shopping on my own. Sometimes, you will just end up buying clothes which is not really your type because of the suggestions of the sales lady. I don't need much but except if I ask them questions that I need. But I really hate them to be following me everywhere i am an I do.
• Philippines
9 Sep 10
I really hate being followed when I enter a store to buy something.. well considering that I know what dresses should i wear or should I buy.. you really can feel very uncomfortable when someone you don't even know always follows you around..
9 Sep 10
Many people go on shopping don't want that the sale associate will follow them in everywhere you go in the store. I observe that if the sale associate follow the customers, the customers go away. for me the sale associate can only assist when the customers call them for help and when the customers ask them. That's only the time they will assist. Many customer are not comfortable when the sales associate beside them.
• Philippines
9 Sep 10
a cheerful greeting is enough for me, i don't need some one suggesting what is right for me specially if its on clothing because i know very well how to dress my self and following you in every corner as if your a thief is too much.
@b27ren (7)
• Philippines
8 Sep 10
Sometimes a "duty is a duty".If your task is to provide that kind of service to customers, then your obliged to. It also depends on the way you oriented or trained your sales clerk on "how much is too much assistance". A cheerful greeting and a genuine smile can be enough to show customers that they can enter your shop with or without shopping. Though according to past encounters with some sales clerks especially from six to eight o'clock in the evening, they tend to be rude, snobbish and frown at you a lot when you enter the store and leave without buying anything. Sales clerks seem to be friendlier and to the extent become nosy which pisses me off during the early hours of the store. I also hate it when they start talking when you turn your back but they obviously speak out loud so you can hear their not so friendly comments about you.
8 Sep 10
Most likely, if I would be the customer, too much is when the sale associate would follow me every time, somewhat demanding that I should buy the product now. I would just need someone to inform me about the benefits that I would get from the product rather than someone who would force me to buy. Sale associates would be annoying if that's the case. Assisting once or twice would be enough. If they would be needing any more assistance just encourage them not to be hesitant in approaching you, assuming you are the sale associate. You could be careful in not doing the "assisting" extremely by being concern more about the customer rather than to be concern about how to have immediate sale. Observe and understand your customer's behavior and you'll know how much assisting will they be needing.
8 Sep 10
sincerely i don't want sales lady following me when i am shopping or looking for a clothes.because sometimes i been conscious and wonder why,why she following me and i don't like that attitude because it can destruct me in choosing my clothes. i dont want someone suggesting whether it is beautiful because i have my own taste when it comes to choosing clothes.so if you are on this situation i think its better to say that 'please let me choose first then come to me if i need you to assist me'well if you can't say it so just enter to another boutique that there is no irritating sales clerks following you.
• Philippines
8 Sep 10
Sales clerks that give greets in every shopping mall makes people feel comfortable in that place. For me,I like sales clerks that is active and cheerful but I do not want sales clerks that follows me where ever I go.They make me think that they were following me because I theft something, so it is irritates me a lot.I just want them to assist me if I needed them or if I just call them.
• Philippines
8 Sep 10
for my experience, yes their is one who always follow me every time i go and if i pick something that i just wanted to touch, the one who is assisting me keeps on talking and talking about what i am holding. but it is just an appreciation to the product. sometimes they talk at your back that if i do not buy, its better to leave.. huh!!! that's my reaction.. well i wanted actually that their will assist me in something but not in the fact that that person will keep following me as if i am a thief. its better to greet their customers and wait for their customers to ask something and that's when the assist will talk and talk.but im still glad that their are some makukulit talaga.
• Philippines
8 Sep 10
People have different perception in this matter. Some of them wants to be fully assisted but others do not want to be assisted that much. A salesman or saleslady should determine if a customer wants to be assisted or not much. A very welcoming or warm greeting can determine whether a customer wants to be assisted or not, or simply just ask or approach that customer if he/she wants to be assisted. In my experience, most of the people do not want to be assisted are the one that is not sure that he/she will buy a product to the store. In the other side, people who needs to be assisted are customer what will sure buy a product in that store and that customer is looking for something.