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Rue 21: A Great Example of Customer Service


As I’m deep into the customer experience industry, I am always aware of customer service as I’m out and about in my personal life. I recently had a wonderful experience with an associate at Rue 21 that I wanted to share as an example of employees who go above and beyond to assist customers.


My oldest daughter recently started high school. While this is already a nervous time for teens, it was impacted by the fact that she was moving from a small, private elementary school to a larger, public high school. She was not only going from a class of 30 that she’s been with since Kindergarten to a school of almost 4,000, but she has been wearing school uniforms for the last nine years.


As you can imagine, she was very unsure of herself when it came to back to school shopping. She didn’t know what other kids were wearing, and, I think in part, basing her perceptions on shows she watches on television. It was frustrating for both of us, until we visited Rue 21.


We had never been there before, so I didn’t know what to expect. As we shopped, we were greeted by associates and reapproached after several minutes of browsing, which I would expect from any retail store. Then something wonderful happened….


We approached the counter when we thought we were finished selecting clothes. The associate, doing her part, asked if we found everything okay and then pointed out that a few of the items we selected were “buy one, get one for $3.00.” This made my daughter happy, and she made a comment about being thrilled to be buying more items since she’s been “stuck” in a uniform for the last several years.


The associate heard this comment and started asking my daughter questions about her school, what high school she was going to, etc. She then made the comment that she must be nervous about clothes shopping for school for the first time. She then took the time to look through what my daughter selected and assured her that she saw many other teens buying similar items. It was taken a step further when she walked around the store with my daughter, making recommendations based on my daughter’s responses to her questions about likes and dislikes. She helped her make outfit choices and offered suggestions.


As we finally checked out, she told us her name and encouraged my daughter to ‘stop by any time” and she’d be more than happy to help her pick things out.


My daughter felt so much better after leaving the store and was reassured more than I could do for her as ‘just her mom’ who she probably thinks is out of touch with teenagers. Hearing these words of encouragement from someone who works at the store gave her a world of confidence and she felt much better about the entire experience.


The associate didn’t have to do this; my daughter was making the comment about the uniforms to me, not the associate. Even if she had overheard it, she didn’t have to go out of her way as she did to help my daughter. She did more than increase sales; she was reassuring and encouraging to a teenage girl. That was well worth any amount of money we spent that day.


It’s experiences like these that make customers loyal. This is now my daughter’s favorite store by far, and we will return on a regular basis because of how kindly we were treated.


Author: Ann Michaels & Associates

Ann Michaels & Associates has been providing customer experience measurement services since 1998. We provide a full range of services to meet the needs of all industries and company sizes, including mystery shopping, customer and employee feedback services, and social media management.

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