Retail Observer

March 2021

The Retail Observer is an industry leading magazine for INDEPENDENT RETAILERS in Major Appliances, Consumer Electronics and Home Furnishings

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 39 of 67

RETAILOBSERVER.COM MARCH 2021 40 T he American Management Association has found that success- ful companies spend about 20 percent more on their personnel, including training, than unsuccessful companies. The finding held true for companies of all sizes in every industry. All of your company's promotion, advertising, marketing and good- will can be ruined by a single rude or indifferent employee. Money spent on advertising is largely wasted when customers show up or call and are turned off by bad-mannered employees, long waits on the phone, and/or lack of knowledge of the product, to name a few. Retailing consultant Richard Israel found that a large slice of a major furniture chain's huge advertising investment evaporated the moment a customer entered a store and walked smack into salespeople with inexcusable behavior. "The whole purpose of advertising," Israel says, "is to get the customer to come in the front door. After that, advertising can't do anything more for you. It's up to the people in the store to take over during the last four feet." No! Employees do not arrive on the job with a full-blown set of service skills. Most companies believe they are awesome at customer service. They tend to assume that their employees are born knowing what to do for customers in those last four feet. I believe companies should allot a portion of their ad budgets to developing learning programs for their employees that will reinforce their advertising with customer service knowledge and skill. Advertising brings customers in the door, all right, but bad customer service sends them back out the door again. When your organization becomes more human, more remarkable and faster on its feet, you're more likely to connect positively with your customers, All businesses have customer-facing experiences every day. There are sales people, project managers, cashiers, waitresses and waiters, presidents, vice presidents – every person in the business is dealing with customers, one way or another. All of these people will make the difference between a company that is perceived positively and a company that appears not to care. THE KEY TO CUSTOMER SATISFACTION: • Listen and solve customer problems fast. Dramatically shorten the time it takes to complete any task for your customers and co-workers. • Give customers your opinion, not just a blurb read off a piece of paper. They don't want to hear scripted words or one-size-fits-all solutions, they want to hear from a person who's empowered to make decisions on their behalf. • Be proactive in finding solutions. Customers are looking for your people to solve a problem and do it quickly. • Be reliable. Customers want to feel comfortable dealing with someone they know and that they can count on to handle a situation. • Take charge. Customers want professional expertise – someone who can give guidance and direction. • Ask customers for feedback and let them know it's important to you. It makes them feel important and that their opinions matter. • Be an advocate for the customer. Customers are looking for a consultant. They want you to listen to them and provide them with a solution. • Have a positive attitude. Focus on the customers, and on helping them solve their problems. Employees are proud to work for a company with a president and senior managers who support the need for good service and prove it by providing ongoing training. They are proud to work for a company that creates a great working environment and empowers its employees to do what's right for the customers. It's about communication. If you're going to have a chance to win customer satisfaction, you need to know what the customer is thinking – your customer. The American Management Association found in a survey that "high-growth companies" stay in touch with their markets and willingly spend the money to do so. They know their customers and they keep their knowledge fresh. They learn the things that cannot be learned any other way: • They learn whether they're satisfied. • They learn what they bought and what they didn't buy, and why. • They learn what they came in expecting to buy and to pay. • They learn the customers' preferences and how they are changing over time. • They communicate this information to every single employee. Customer Service… it's been my life's work and my passion! John Tschohl Customer Service RO BAD SERVICE NULLIFIES ADVERTISING John Tschohl is a professional speaker, trainer, and consultant. He is the president and founder of Service Quality Institute — the global leader in customer service — with operations in over 40 countries. John speaks more than 50 times each year and is considered one of the foremost authorities on service strategy, success, empowerment and customer service. John's monthly strategic newsletter is available online at no charge. Contact John on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Retail Observer - March 2021