As I may have mentioned I spent a lovely weekend in London and Surrey last weekend with two of my best friends, one of whom is getting married next March.
On Saturday we spent a very enjoyable day catching up and shopping for bridesmaids dresses as myself and my other friend will be her two adult bridesmaids on her wedding day.
I was over the moon to be asked. We were really looking forward to going shopping for dresses … even though we were all also slightly nervous as myself and my friend are slightly different shapes and were a little worried that we wouldn’t find something that would suit us both!
And so to the point of this little blog post that I felt I just had to write after our experiences on Saturday.
We had appointments on Saturday morning at two different local independent Bridal shops. I won’t be mentioning names as, to be honest, its not necessary and would be incredibly unprofessional … however I did feel I had to discuss on the blog the two totally different experiences we had in these two shops in terms of customer service.
Our first appointment was at a bridal boutique at 9am. Walking up to the shop the windows were dressed nicely ( if not at all in the style of dresses that are my sort of thing … but that is just personal taste ). All in all though the shop looked inviting and professional.
When we walked in we were instantly greeted warmly by the lady running the shop who took my friends name and then ushered us immediately into the ‘bridesmaid’s dress room’ in the shop.
She asked us whether we were looking for short or long dresses and then proceeded to show us the rack of dresses and quickly talk through our options and that each dress would be available in a range of colours and that we should concentrate on shapes and styles today.
A seat was provided for the bride, who obviously wouldn’t be trying dresses on, but sitting and deciding on what she liked us in.
The assistant asked us to pick out dresses we would like to try on and placed these in the small dressing cubicle for us.
We then started trying on dresses … once we were changed into them she immediately helped us do up zips, any lace ties and pinned any part of the dress that needed taking in because the sample size was too large for us in order that we could see how the dress would look on us in reality.
She was there constantly for any questions that we needed to ask and offered the odd opinion where appropriate.
She then efficiently wrote down the names and codes of the dresses we liked and showed us the various colour options available.
We were actually only in the shop for about half an hour but had a lovely time and came away feeling like we had found a couple of really possible options for our bridesmaids dresses.
Our second appointment was at a similar, but slightly larger bridal shop at 11am.
Again the dresses in the window weren’t exactly my sort of thing but in this instance the mannequins were also incredibly badly dressed. It looked like no thought had gone into the window displays and several of the dresses were ‘hanging’ off the mannequins as they were way too big and no attempt had been made to pin them so they looked their best.
When entering the shop there were several assistants milling around and it took a few minutes for someone to say hi and for my friend to give her name and say she had an appointment.
We were told to sit in the waiting area as they were currently busy with other clients .. which is absolutely fine … however two of the assistants were just stood around chatting to each other during the time we were sat waiting.
When we were eventually shown into the area to try on dresses a large party was still in there trying on wedding and bridesmaids dresses and we were told to pick what we wanted to try from the bridesmaids dress rack and put them in the dressing room which was available to us. The assistant, who had come across as moody and harassed from the beginning, then disappeared and left us to it and we had to awkwardly apologise to the other clients in the shop as we had to stand and reach in front of them to get to the bridesmaids dresses.
As all three of the staff were still in the foyer area chatting we proceeded to let ourselves into the dressing area and close the curtain behind us to try the dresses on we had picked. The bride was at no point offered anywhere to sit or spoken to as to the various options that were available.
Once the other party had left we finally got some form of customer service from the assistant who basically loitered around and helped us, without talking, twice when we needed help lacing up a dress.
The experience was appalling and we raced through trying the dresses on we had picked so we could get out of the shop as quickly as possible.
Quite frankly, even if we had found the perfect dress, my friend said she would have taken down the details of the dress and tried to purchase it from somewhere else as she refused to give a shop with such appalling customer service any of her hard earned money!
It just goes to show how good customer service can really affect whether a client purchases from your shop or not.
It would be interesting to hear of others experiences with bridal shops … I hope to goodness that the second experience we had is a rare occurrence!