Even after 30 years of service at Shoppers Drug Mart, Maggie still gets excited about going to work every day. Her secret? A diverse team and an ever-changing environment in which she can learn new things daily. “When you start thinking you know it all, you stop progressing,” she says. “We can never learn enough from our customers or ourselves.”
Not only does Maggie pride herself on her thirst for knowledge, she uses it to her advantage on the sales floor. When her beautyBOUTIQUE opened its doors nine years ago, she admits it was impossible to know everything about every product. So, in order to better serve her customers, she aimed for sincerity. “Women are smart and would much more appreciate you saying ‘Let’s learn together’ or ‘Let me find out for you,’ instead of giving a line that isn’t true,” she says.
While she’s been known to refer to her training manual to answer a customer inquiry, knowledge isn’t something Maggie treats casually. Noting that customers are savvier than ever because of beauty magazines and the Internet, she works to keep up by attending as many vendor training programs as possible.
Maggie’s peers are just as vital to her continual learning. “I may have a question for one of the younger girls, who might be more in tune to something, and she might ask me a question for one of her more mature customers. We have a really good rapport and I think that shows in our loyal customer base.”
One would imagine that 30 years of experience would be enough to warrant an impressive lineup of loyal customers, but Maggie believes her sales approach also helps. “For me, it’s really never about the big sale,” she says. “I’ve had lots of people spend $2,000 with me in half an hour, but that’s not it for me; that’s not my best experience.”
Maggie’s most memorable experience illustrates her point. “I had a chemotherapy patient come in who had lost both of her eyebrows,” she recalls. “She was wearing a scarf on her head and was extremely shy and timid, and when I approached her I could tell she wanted to be left alone.” Maggie chose to open up a casual dialogue with her and eventually discovered that she was self-conscious about her penciled-in eyebrows. “I showed her a brow powder [with which] you could get a more natural brow line. Making a difference to somebody is one of the best things that I can say I do.”
When she started her career at Shoppers Drug Mart in 1983, after graduating high school and having decided not to pursue a position with the RCMP, Maggie never would have guessed that such a rewarding career would be in the cards. But after three decades and a fairly recent COSA (Cosmetics Outstanding Service Awards) under her belt, that’s exactly what she got.