Probe To Meet The Customer’s Needs

I recently visited a local electronics retailer in search of a new television. I had a particular brand in mind, but was unable to locate it. A sales person was nearby, so I asked her if the store sold the brand of interest. Her response nearly floored me! She stated very sarcastically “We don’t sell that here, you will have to go to (competitor) to find that brand. We only sell quality brands here”. If that wasn’t enough, she turned and walked away! After taking a few steps toward the exit, I returned to the area where we last conversed and found the sales person joking around with other employees. Upon getting her attention, I walked her a little distance away from the others and asked why she instructed me to go to a competitor’s store in such a sarcastic manner, along with deeming my brand of interest as inferior. She slowly stated “I’m not on commission, so I don’t feel the need to try to force you to buy anything”. This statement only added to my frustration level, but I smiled and asked “Don’t you think you could have asked why I was interested in my brand of choice? Or if you felt that my brand was inferior, could you have taken the time to advise me of the benefits of buying your “quality” brand?” She stood there unable to respond.

Are your employees trained to ask, listen and offer solutions to your customers? Are they trained to probe to identify what is driving the customer’s buying decision? Do your reward systems promote good customer service? Make sure that all employees receive the proper customer service training to prevent unnecessary and or unintentional antagonization of your customers. Guess where I didn’t buy a television. Guess how many people I have shared this story with since the day it happened? The ending was preventable if only the sales person had taken the time to do a little more probing.

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