My recent post on shopping rage spurred intriguing comments, many of which addressed the professionalism of sales associates. So I thought it would be interesting to talk about what makes the ideal sales associate.

As a customer I get annoyed when the sales associates hover over me, especially in the fitting room. And equally annoyed when I can’t find an associate to help out with sizes or at the tills. It must be quite hard to strike the perfect balance between being both attentive AND leaving customers to their own devices. Also, I’m sure that sales associates have their fair share of nightmarish customers!

Generally I’ve found the sales associates here in the US a breath of fresh air. They are for the most part very friendly and helpful. I guess that’s what I look for in a good sales associate when I’m shopping in stores, either for myself or with clients. I quite like to be greeted by a sales associate upon entering the store, but it’s not essential. Then I prefer to be left alone while I browse until I ask for assistance. Once I ask for assistance, I expect to be assisted promptly, competently and courteously.

Over to you. What do you look for in a good sales associate? Do you like to be showered with attention upon entering the store? Or do you prefer to be left alone? Does it make a difference when the associate is friendly, or are you indifferent to their mood as long as they are helpful and efficient?

If you are a sales associate, I’d love to hear your opinion too.