Well, I would guess that Teavana is like any other larger business entity...they have goals to make money (else why even have a business) and there are people involved. It could be that for some of their locations the goals are unreasonable and the directors/managers are under a LOT of pressure. And I suspect that the work atmosphere at any particular store is heavily influenced by the particular management at that store...if the manager is a goat, it won't be pleasant to work there. If the manager at the store is a great person, but he really needs his job and his boss is a goat, that yuck may well flow down even if the manager is a great person.
It is good customer service for a salesperson to help the customer discover what the store has to offer. In the same way a well designed website will help the user find out what the vendor has to offer and what makes the vendor's particular product special or unique (e.g. our tea comes from the exclusive yah-yah estate), what items combine well with other items (e.g. this pot would be especially useful for brewing gyokuro) and will reveal any special offers or discounts (e.g. free shipping on orders over $50). If a website has all this info, we call it well-designed and helpful. Teaching salespeople something as simplistic as get 3 "no's" is a way to make sure they do any customer service at all...some people don't feel comfortable talking to customers at all...a simple "go for 3 no's rule" can get the salesperson past that. That keeps the salesperson from hiding behind the counter just waiting to take your money...or the worse alternative they stand behind the counter, don't speak and just stare while you walk around the store!
A great salesperson can really increase the value of your purchase. I am not normally a high-end shopper...Macy's is about as exclusive as I get and I don't normally shop in the designer sections there even. Several years ago I visited a higher end dress store and found a nice (but plain) dress on sale there. This was not the type of store I normally frequent...it had real salespeople not just cash register clerks. As I was getting ready to pay for my purchase, the saleswoman asked if I had seen a particular scarf that complimented the dress. She went to get it...I am sure that I had a look on my face that told her that I wouldn't know how to utilized the scarf at all. She showed me a couple of ways to use it around the neck and a way to use it as a belt. The scarf transformed the rather plain dress into a really nice outfit. Of course I bought the scarf too. Her helpfulness really increased the value of my plain on-sale dress...sure the store made some more money, but I went away a much happier customer! Some might call that pushy, I thought it was terrific. I wish I could afford to shop there all the time!!!
At the two local Teavana stores near me, I've always found the sales people helpful and attentive.
For example, on Saturday when I was in there looking at tea ware, when I indicated I liked a particular style of cup, but not the color, she found me something similar in another color. When I was looking at teapots and indicated I didn't particularly like dragons, she pointed out a pot on a high shelf. I indicated that I thought it looked a too large for my needs, but she got a ladder and got it down for me. Yep, it was large (but I did like the shape). She did NOT try to talk me into it at all. She asked if I had tried the new teas they were sampling on the inside of the store, I got to try 3 new teas and 2 new blends. At some point she mentioned something like if I bought a teapot I could get a discount on tea I purchased that day.
I finally decided on a half-price gaiwan (that I had spotted in the first few minutes I was in the store, but I had not picked it up or let her know...as far a she knew I wasn't going to buy anything). As I checked out she asked if I needed any tea or rock sugar.
I did not feel as if any of this was pushy; rather I thought it was helpful, interesting and thoroughly enjoyable. Whenever I have shopped for teas there, I don't remember the sales people talking about health benefits much at all...it seems as if they only had words to say that I already knew (don't forget, tea is a pretty healthy beverage...most people are sucking down colored, highly caffeinated, HFCS water at such an alarming rate that our country is on the cusp of an unimaginable health crisis...the cost of treating type 2 diabetes is zooming and is expected to rise exponentially in the next decade or so). Their written "tea menu", does talk about various health benefits of their teas, but I think they are pretty reasonable there.
Teavana was my "gateway" to loose leaf teas and where I live it is pretty much the only place at all to shop in person for tea or tea ware. I got my first matcha there...it wasn't the best, but it wasn't horrible either. I got my first sencha there, it wasn't as good as what I've discovered since then, but it was leagues better than anything one might find in a tea bag at the grocery store!!! There are a couple of blends from there that I really enjoy...every time I sip a cup I think how glad I am that they are in my town!
It is great customer service to ask questions to find out if the customer has a need you can help fulfill. If you discover such a need and offer an appropriate solution, everybody goes away happy. If not, the customer should still go away feeling as if they've been listened to and take care of and are valued. I teach this in my business. It is all about caring for people!!!
At any particular store, they will probably either get things worked out or go out of business...that is the way of the world. If the top of the company needs to learn more, they will either learn more or be out of business...I always say "isn't it lucky that I can get smarter any time I want to?" They can get smarter, too.
I hope they get it all worked out and stay around. If there is a Teavana in your town, go on in, taste some tea, look at some beautiful teaware...buy or don't buy, it can't hurt to look around!
Sorry to go on so long...I've had a tough day...freshman college daughter (math major) called crying that she hates her classes and got a D on her first calculus test...writing this long thing (while drinking some sweet gyokuro) has helped calm my mind. Too bad I can't talk her into really giving green tea a try...it could calm her mind too!