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Who ‘owns’ the customer?

June 22, 2012 | By Bruce Hourigan | No Comments

Recently, I went shopping at a local mall. A sales associate approached me to ask if I needed help. I told her what I was looking for. She immediately came back with knowledgeable recommendations. After trying on the selections, she asked if I’d like to shop some more, which I did. So far, so good.

As I was walking through the store, another salesperson offered assistance. “Wow,” I thought, “they really have this team-service concept down.” And that’s when it happened.

The first salesperson came over and scolded the second one for helping me! He left, embarrassed, without another word to me. I somehow had changed from “valued customer” to “instigator.” It left a very bad taste in my mouth, especially as I knew that once I left, that second associate would probably be further reamed out – all for the “sin” of trying to help a customer. Trust me, my desire to purchase new clothes plummeted after the incident!

I put my discomfort aside to ask whether the sales associates are on commission. They were not. However, they each had individual sales goals, and she obviously was feeling threatened that she could lose “credit” for the entire sale.

What happened here is that it went from an extraordinary team customer-service experience that would have led to more sales to a “me first” mentality where the employee focused only on her personal goal. This is a great lesson on how a compensation system that does not have team goals can compromise sales and your bottom line — and sour a customer in the process.

Think about the following:

  • Does your staff put the customer’s needs beyond a desire to “get the sale”?
  • Do you encourage team service, so that every customer gets the benefits of the combined knowledge and skills of your staff?
  • Does your staff understand that the company “owns” the client, not any individual service provider?
  • Does your entire team take responsibility for the happiness of every client?

You can’t afford not to put guest services at the top of your to-do list. Need some help fine-tuning your guest services? Call or e-mail me and ask how a Certified Strategies Coach can come in to your business and inspire your team to practice off-the-charts service.

Bruce Hourigan is president of Strategies.

Categories: Business Builders , Customer Loyalty , Strategies Notes & News

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