This post is dedicated to those poorly hired, poorly trained retail sales employees who do all they can to provide the worst post-sales service ever. There are some people in these roles who have no idea how to provide a great customer experience once the ink has dried on the sales receipt. They do an injustice to the really excellent sales people out there.
In call centers, we monitor for quality and coach skills using tools that help us.
The problem with many retail operations is that phones aren’t monitored or recorded which simply sets things up for a “he said, she said” confrontation with customers.
My inspiration for my post today comes from a recent experience I had with an appliance store. I love doing business with small local places and this one fit the need.
The initial sales person we dealt with was professional, friendly and knew how to discuss the features and benefits of the products compared. We placed an order and my husband and I arranged to take a Friday off since the sales person said Saturday deliveries weren’t done. He told us that said they would make arrangements with their installation subcontractor. The day we planned for deliver was 2 weeks away giving everyone plenty of time for calendars to be checked and booked.
I called back in a week after not hearing anything further from the sales rep. I spoke with the same person and he reassured me that our delivery day had been confirmed by the installers. He still didn’t know an estimated time for the delivery and made no offer to call me back when he did.
The day before the installation, I called again. A different sales person told me to call back on Friday morning at 9:30am when the installers would pick up their appliances to be delivered and they would know their scheduled route.
I called as directed and yet another sales rep answered and told me my original sales person was “out”. I told her why I was calling and she said, “Nothing has changed…they will deliver today between 10:30am and 5:30pm”. I told her that I had been told to call back this morning to get an estimated time within an hour or two.
She said in a flat ‘whatever’ tone, “You were told wrong. We don’t do that.”
I took a deep breath. “OK…how about the installer’s number and I can call them directly. We have some errands to do and don’t want to wait 7 hours”.
She replied that she couldn’t give me their number because “they would get so many calls and not get their work done” adding, “They’ll call you a few minutes before they arrive. You can leave but just don’t go more than 30 minutes away from your house”. Not feeling the love at this point.
I told her that I was very unhappy with the way this was being handled. I added that there were many other businesses that sold these appliances but I had chosen the company she worked for expecting personal service that might not be provide by a large nationwide chain, I said that since no one seemed concerned about my issue that maybe I should just cancel the order.
Her reply was simply amazing. “I don’t understand why you are threatening me…”
I simply replied, “I’m your customer and I’m telling you that I am not happy with the service I am receiving. How is that threatening?” She was quiet for a moment and then mumbled something about not being able to do anything more. I hung up the phone and decided to let the delivery stand and see what happened.
A few minutes later, our original sales rep called and went in circles making insincere apologies that took no blame for the mistakes and misinformation. He blamed the processes in place instead.
Empathy? Sincere interest in the customer? So important and so missing in all of these sales interactions.
There was good news in terms of the delivery subcontractors. They arrived early and were excellent and very service oriented. The sales rep never called to check if we were happy with the delivery or the products. Anyone surprised at that?
If you manage a retail team, when was the last time you really observed them in action during sales and customer interactions?
Are you listening to their calls with prospects and customers?
What are you doing as their sales leader to help your team create a wonderful customer experience during the selling process and after the ink dries?
Filed under: Customer Experience, Customer Loyalty, Customer Retention, Customer Service, Customer Service Skills, Proactive Customer Service, Retail Sales, Sales Tagged: | Communication, customer experience, Customer Loyalty, Customer satisfaction, Customer Service, Retail Sales, Sales, Sales Skills, Salesmanship