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Debenhams and other failing businesses

(59 Posts)
Anja Sat 12-Jan-19 08:33:00

The ‘bosses’ of some of these business haven’t a clue just how their shop operate at customer level.,

Take Debenhams as one example. I order quite a bit online and used to use their ‘Click & Collect’ but just recently this pick-up point at our local store doesn’t exist any more. Now you have to queue up for ages at the undermanned tills.

M&S is another store with overlong queues. Plenty of staff in both but they were wandering round adjusting this and that to avoid till duty.

Try buying cosmetics at our local House of Fraser. Lots of staff on various brands but all busy chatting with one another and loath to serve. You can stand there looking around, obviously in need to assistance and be ignored.

Where are the managers in these shops? Are they just sitting in their offices all day? Why aren’t they up and about more often checking that customers are being helped or served?

When I hear that these stores are failing and people are losing their jobs I have to wonder just how much they have contributed to their own demise. I’ve listened to the grumbling from other customers in these shops and queues so it’s not just me who’s prepared to shop elsewhere.

craftergran Sat 12-Jan-19 09:09:23

For me I don't get as far as the cash desk in these shops, they just don't stock clothes I want and often you have to walk through the perfume area to get to see the clothing.

Much as I like individual perfumes the smell of the mixed perfumes actually makes me feel ill. It isn't a pleasant experience.

Finally the lighting in some of these shops bounces off the tiled floors and I don't find that pleasant either as I suffer migraines.

Niobe Sat 12-Jan-19 09:15:48

I know what you mean about M&S staff wandering round twitching things while queues build up at the checkout and one customer seems to have a complex transaction. The last time it happened to me I just used my 'teacher voice' to politely ask the twitcher if it would be possible to open another till. Two more were promptly opened. Customers will just have to become more assertive.

eazybee Sat 12-Jan-19 09:30:09

I agree.
M & S's standard of service has declined dramatically, some of their staff are indifferent and occasionally actually rude; the click and collect assistant (not busy) refused to check to see if my order had arrived and told me to return after midday, over an hour later; the floor manager found it, apologised and that assistant doesn't work there any longer. In Beales I attempted to buy a specific Lancome mascara, not in stock despite being promoted; the girl couldn't find it and simply shrugged her shoulders when I said I had come in specially (12 mile round journey) making no attempt o sell me another similar product. My family have all been connected with retail, and I have worked in department stores; I am appalled at the poor levels of service being offered in some stores now. I had to ring up the managing director of the store before I could get service in the carpet department, waiting to order a carpet.
I used to complain regularly but now I don't bother; I don't consider going anywhere but John Lewis for good value and excellent service.

janeainsworth Sat 12-Jan-19 09:34:15

People are just voting with their feet and going to John Lewis instead. No customer service problems there.
But I think failing stores are just part of a bigger change in society.
60 years ago far fewer women worked outside the home and had more time to shop during the week and ‘going to town’ was a bit of a treat.
It’s not a treat when you’re at work all week and rushed off your feet juggling a job, childcare and managing a home as well. You just get everything online instead.
John Lewis does that pretty well too.

janeainsworth Sat 12-Jan-19 09:35:12

Crossed posts eazy

J52 Sat 12-Jan-19 10:12:44

Like others I tend to use JL for shopping.

However, for some cosmetics and toiletries I’ve recently been shopping at Superdrug in a couple of branches.

The staff are well trained, polite and helpful, and never allow a long queue to build up. Plus their club points do actually give you money off.

Teetime Sat 12-Jan-19 10:12:49

Well JL in Leicester is not very good...long queues, never seems to be anyone on the shoe counter, cosmetics counters only fully manned at weekends, dirty tables in the cafe and clothes wise you either need to be going to a wedding ir going to work

EllanVannin Sat 12-Jan-19 10:17:47

Simple------there are no dedicated nor trained staff any more.
Years ago many large stores held staff training before they opened their doors and this practice was all about the different techniques of selling, treatment of the customer as an individual and generally making sure that you appeared attentive to attend to their needs and meet the demands of the customer.

Shop managers were visible and always on hand to sort out any problems or queries.
Dedication to the job was key and it was the job of the manager to circulate around the store in order to make sure that attention was paid to selling rather than a customer walk out empty-handed.
Courtesy and manners play a huge part in whether a customer returns or not.

It used to be a pleasure shopping in large stores years ago. I was an avid shopper in Lewis's, Liverpool where staff " stood to attention " in readiness to serve their customers. If you were a regular in the store the staff got to know you and you were given that extra bit of service so as a consequence you returned there.
This is not happening now as staff couldn't care less if you were there or not and quite honestly preferred that you weren't while they got on with their conversations as though you were invisible.
It wouldn't have happened years ago !

John Lewis is more the " old style " way of keeping their custom as they strive to give the best customer service and their staff training is an all important part of the thriving business that it is.

Liz46 Sat 12-Jan-19 10:38:23

I went to Liverpool yesterday quite prepared to 'treat' myself. Debenhams was like a jumble sale, John Lewis wasn't much better and M&S was awful. All I bought was a pair of gloves in the M&S sale.

We did treat ourselves to a Lebanese lunch which was good. My husband had a spicy chip butty, a funny combination of cultures!

Oldwoman70 Sat 12-Jan-19 10:43:50

Yes, I agree it is lack of customer service that is killing some of these shops. Why trek all the way into town, either by almost non-existent public transport or pay huge parking fees, only to be met with indifference from staff in the stores? Much easier to stay at home and order online.

Jane10 Sat 12-Jan-19 11:00:52

John Lewis!! Near us is terrible. They certainly lost huge sales when we went to buy curtains and carpets for our entire flat. The staff simply couldn't be bothered. We walked away and haven't been back. DD ordered some Hotel Chocolat from them to be delivered to me for a birthday gift. They arrived 3 months out of date! I had a huge palaver trying to get them to replace them. John Lewis? My least favourite shop!!

kittylester Sat 12-Jan-19 11:10:59

I think our John Lewis is fabulous Teetime. I have never had a bad experience there!

Last time I went to Debenhams I was pleasantly surprised at how well laid out it was and the staff were quite pleasant.

EllanVannin Sat 12-Jan-19 11:20:19

Bringing their prices down would be a good start !!

EllanVannin Sat 12-Jan-19 11:25:21

I haven't been shopping in Liverpool for years------I don't think it matters now as I feel safer doing it online in the comfort of my home.

Teetime Sat 12-Jan-19 11:34:37

I'll go with you next time kittylester then perhaps we can find an assistant on the shoe counter and one that will get me more than one pair of shoes at a time. Also is there ever anyone on the Dior or Benefit counters?

Greyduster Sat 12-Jan-19 11:57:37

I have given up on our city centre Debenhams. Getting help to buy anything is a nightmare, staff are barely attentive when you do find one and last time we went into the household goods department, it was like a ghost town - I was expecting to see tumbleweed rolling by! Our John Lewis is just ok; I am disappointed to find that I cannot now telephone direct to our store, and that if I want to order anything by phone, I have to open an account! In their technical goods department there are not enough staff and certainly too few with the necessary expertise to advise you. But, I still go there - it is like retail gas and air! Don’t get me started on M&S. We have an independent department store here and I love it. It sells just about everything, quality is excellent and staff are brilliant. I used to go there with my mother when I was small and have been shopping there since. They have been in business for over a hundred years, always move with the times and seem to buck every retail downturn.

Cherrytree59 Sat 12-Jan-19 12:19:27

I agree lack of a manager or supervisors present on the shop floor is an issue in the same way as the looming figure of the Matron is no longer on the ward.
While the cats away the mice will play.

In the case of John Lewis
although it seems to depends on the luck of the draw if your store is good or not, the workers are also share holders so more motivated??

I feel the powers that be in the retail industry know that the days of the deparment store are numbered.

People now are shopping on line (including the 'grey' pound).
All investments will now be diverted to internet shopping. (Imho)
Large square footage means large rents, wage bills, utility bills etc.

Fashion/clothes industry is not losing out the customers are still there, just with a credit card and a 'thumb'

Shopping in the towns and cities has to be a planned experience.
Working parents are now very much time short, so shopping for food, clothes, makeup etc is done on the bus, train, office, lunch hour or when the children are in bed via the net.

Family time is precious and weekends are now seen as leisure time or for childrens activities.

The leisure and beauty industry is probably in top spot at the moment.

Anja Sat 12-Jan-19 12:49:02

So it’s not just me. In one way that makes me feel better but n another it is so sad that there’s such a simple solution to these retail problems.

I have a smallish Sainsbury’s not far from me and a huge Tesco a couple of miles away. I’ll always shop at the smaller Sainsbury’s because the staff are so smiley and helpful and the Tesco staff four and sour. That’s not to say all Sainsbury’s are like this but it does come down to the individual store and the ethos built up by managers and staff towards their customers.

GrannyGravy13 Sat 12-Jan-19 12:54:00

John Lewis for me every time. Fabulous customer service when I had 3 pairs of curtains made before Christmas.

Staff are helpful and if it's not in stock, which happened to me on Tuesday it was delivered to my door free on Friday.

It is small compared to most JL's friendly, clean and efficient.

FlexibleFriend Sat 12-Jan-19 13:10:53

I haven't shopped in M&S for over a decade, I did use BHS for lighting and swimwear before their demise but I love my local Debenhams with their helpful staff, good atmosphere and range of stock I'd be sorry to see them go. I rarely shop in store these days due to disability but still use them on line. I've been made over a few times by the woman on the Ysl counter, she's a good laugh and doesn't complain when I say I love everything except the lipsticks, far too glossy for me.

FlexibleFriend Sat 12-Jan-19 13:18:16

I've had issues with JL on line they are fine when things go well but gawd help you if things go wrong and you need assistance. They try extremely hard to wriggle out of their extended warranty. No thanks their are better suppliers out there.
I think the whole high street is going the same way due to excessive rent and rates coupled with so many of us shopping on line.

BBbevan Sat 12-Jan-19 15:36:49

Just been to local M&S to collect some things ordered on line. Had to ring the bell for asssistant , as instructed. Boy, was she fed up. Didn't look at me at all. Hardly spoke. Gave me the parcel with bad grace and went. Not what I would have expected of M&S.

Lyndylou Sat 12-Jan-19 18:46:02

I have been saving up for new bedding and curtains so off I went today to Dunelm, which seems to be the main outlet now for Dorma, which I have always preferred, with £200 in my hot hand, well OK in my bank account. There on the main display bed in store was something that would have been perfect. But no stock to buy, a few king size duvet covers but no doubles and no curtains, so back home to check online stock - none available. Back in the 1970s when I worked for Habitat, showing something in a prominent display that you didn't have in stock was a waste of valuable display space, not to mention a waste of customer time trying to track the item down. But shops seem to do it a lot these days.

prestbury Sat 12-Jan-19 18:54:32

From a male perspective my views echo previous comments.

The demise of stores these days has seen the excuses of poor pound, Brexit, the internet etc., etc.

But as others have highlighted, stores do not help themselves with indifference by staff, invisible managers and poor customer service. I tend to give these places one chance, if they get it wrong and are apathetic in resolving problems, my money gets spent elsewhere.

Stores that have recently gone:

Toys R Us - monolithic stores, indifferent staff, high prices. They could not compete with the likes of Smyths Toys with decent size stores, friendly staff and prices comparable with online.

Maplin - Used to be a good store for component and gadget freaks, the along came high prices for chinese rubbish and indifferent staff with little technical knowledge. They tried to follow the Tandy model and looked what happened to them so many years ago.

More stores will follow for example HMV are struggling yet they had the opportunity 20+ years ago to be part of the internet revolution for music and films online but refused to be at the front of the pack saying it will never take off.

Has anyone been into WH Smiths in recent years? their stores to me always seem grubby with poor lighting. If it was not for the railway station and airport franchises they would have been long gone.