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Best Places To Shop

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    Best Places To Shop

    What's the quickest way for a retailer to shoo away potential customers? Believe it or not, it's not necessarily with prices but with bad customer service.

    Consider this: If you're not typically a high-end shopper, but you wander into a luxury store either by accident or by design, a welcoming staff that greets you and discreetly offers assistance may coax you into buying an item or two, and may even make you feel good about it.

    On the other hand, if you're watched like a hawk from the moment you arrive and spoken to rudely -- or are blatantly ignored -- there's little chance you'll fork over your hard-earned dollars, no matter how much you love their stuff.

    "Obviously price is key to determining where people choose to shop. But after that, it's customer service," said Phil Rist, vice president of strategy for market research firm BIGresearch.

    With too many retailers chasing too few consumer dollars, Rist says, merchants can get a leg up on the competition, if they learn to court the customer in simple ways.

    He lists a helpful and polite staff, well-organized and clean stores as desirable attributes that can go a long way in winning over shoppers...
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