Macy’s Gets Serious about Service


Probably no one at service-minded Nordstrom is shaking in their boots—yet. But Macy’s, one of the nation’s largest department-store chains, insists that it’s getting serious about treating customers with care. The chain is rolling out its new training program, called Magic Selling, to all 130,000 of its associates.

The pressing need for CPR on the customer experience at Macy’s stores was not exactly an industry secret. Forty-eight percent of Macy’s customer complaints are focused on interactions with sales associates, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Great Recession likely exacerbated trends toward disgruntlement and under-qualification; and Macy’s big 2005 merger with May Department Stores probably didn’t help either.[more]

Having identified poor customer service as a big drag on the shopper experience in its stores and the brand’s reputation, Macy’s is going full force now to correct things. If length of corporate acronym is directly proportional to success, things should really turn around: “Magic” stands for “Meet and make a connection,” “Ask questions and listen,” “Give options and give advice,” “Inspire to buy,” and “Celebrate the purchase.”

Pneumonic alphabet fun aside, clerks are now attending personal rather than video training when they join Macy’s and taking in a number of other new programs and enhancements.

Macy’s is counting on Magic Selling to contribute the most of any factor to the chain’s expected three-percent growth in fiscal-2011 same-store sales, according to the newspaper.

The phrase “About time” comes to mind. After all, the connection between nice, helpful sales associates and higher sales is a truism in retailing. And now, Macy’s is finally doing something about it.