“It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about that, you’ll do things differently.” –Warren Buffett
It’s not easy to make it as a small business in Toronto, but with poor customer service you’re almost guaranteed to fail. In the Digital Age, it has become increasingly important to ensure customers leave your business with a positive experience. If they don’t, many will be quick to share critical reviews and vent about their negative interaction for friends, family, colleagues, and the entire world to see.
Which brings me to The Boutique X, a ladies apparel store marketing themselves as offering “runway fashions” with exclusive prices. In my opinion, their sequined, frilly garbs look more like costumes than classy attire. From their window displays, I was skeptical we would find anything worth trying on but since my niece was excited to begin the hunt for her prom dress, we decided to give the new store a chance. I wish we hadn’t.
From the moment we attempted to enter Boutique X, we were made to feel uncomfortable and untrustworthy. My sister-in-law, who was drinking her coffee in a reusable cup, was denied entry. “No drinks allowed!” the salesperson shouted, despite no such store policy being displayed outside. Once my eldest niece found a few dresses to try on, they were taken from her and put aside.
We were made to wait despite the curtained change room being available.
The salesperson was cashing out another customer, who was haggling over the final price of her purchase. Passing my niece one dress at a time, she criticized the fit. “Her body is tiny,” the salesperson said. “None of these dresses will work,” discouraging her from trying on the rest of her selections.
My poor six year old niece, who was bored standing outside with her mom, was pressing the automatic door button as people walked by the store. Apparently this was getting on the salesperson’s nerves, because she yelled at her to stop. Then as her eight year old sister tried to approach a mannequin, only to comment on the shirt, the salesperson yelled, “Stay away from the display!”.
Since when is shouting at children an acceptable form of communication for a customer service representative?
Next, the salesperson noticed me checking the price-tag on a dress hanging on a rack near the cash. The dress was listed at $110.00. She rushed over to inform me that it wasn’t for sale, “It’s a sample,” she said and with a judgemental stare added, “When it’s listed for sale, it’ll be at least $550.00.” Quite a markup to be bragging about, if you ask me.
Ready to leave, we exited the store and my youngest niece pressed the automatic door button one more time. Seemingly, this hit a nerve with the salesperson who chased us out onto the street screaming. Her behaviour frightened my nieces.
When I expressed the details of my negative experience on Instagram, a representative from Boutique X got back to me.
I wish I could say they acknowledged their inappropriate actions and apologized. Unfortunately, this was not the case. They called me an exaggerating bully and denied having done anything offensive. I wished them luck; because I believe with their overpriced clothing and complete lack of decency, they’ll need it.