BEEN SHOPPING LATELY?

Did you have a “WOW” experience?

If so tell us all about it so that we can all go shopping there.

If your experience was less than that tell us about that too, but leave the names out to protect the guilty.

7 Responses to “BEEN SHOPPING LATELY?”

  1. Ron Says:

    I have one myself.

    It was early in the morning when I arrived to conduct a Success Rally. I was early enough to grab a cup of coffee, but not to have breakfast. I entered a local coffee shop (no name here) and asked for a small cup of coffee and a toasted bagel. The young woman behind the counter scowled at me and barked, “You have to toast it yourself”. My first thought was, “No I don’t, and I don’t even need to buy one.”
    This coffee shop was lucky that I was hungry enough to get the bagel (and toast it), but not lucky enough to count on me returning on another day.
    It’s okay to have a “serve yourself policy”, (I guess) that wasn’t the problem. It was the way that it was said that bothered me.
    The good thing for me (and bad thing for the coffee shop) is that this experience gave me a wonderful example to use when teaching the importance of being nice to customers. And in those live sessions I have no problem saying where it was. News about poor service will always travel faster than good news.

  2. Don Says:

    It Is About Attitude!

    As you can probably guess, I am usually thinking about sales and customer service and how one or both can be improved. I guess it’s an occupational hazard. The difference between failure and success can boil down to the attitude that you have. Customers can feel when a salesperson enjoys what they are doing and have a great attitude. On the other hand, they can also feel when someone is having a bad day or just hates what they are doing.

    I was recently in a restaurant having lunch with a friend of mine and everything was good from the service to the food. I didn’t take much notice of it at the time but then my friend said something to me as we were leaving that got my attention. He said, “Isn’t it nice when people who are there to help you act like they want to be there and want to make sure you are satisfied?” I started thinking about that statement and the only word that came to mind was, DUH!

    I do not say that to be cute or funny but rather as a statement of the obvious. How often do we come away with the type of feeling that my friend shared with me? I hope it is more times than not but I am guessing it is not as often as it should be. We are in sales, of course, and a big part of that is customer service but I also believe quality customer service comes from those with positive outlooks and attitudes.

    If you are in the market to make a purchase and you have narrowed your choices down to two, and everything from price to warranties is identical; the only difference is between the two salespeople who helped you. One salesperson is pushy and does not really seem to care about anything but closing the deal. The other salesperson is friendly, takes an interest in you, and truly wants you to be happy. The question is this, from who is 99% of the public going to buy that item? I think you know the answer.

    The point is a simple one, if you are enjoying what you are selling and the customers that you are selling to, then odds are your customers will enjoy buying from you, hopefully more than once.

  3. Ron Says:

    I found this story at http://www.forbes.com, and shortened it somewhat.

    How to Beat the Big Boxes
    Marc Compeau

    I recently took a trip to Rochester, N.Y., where the local Target has a full-blown Starbucks just inside the front door. I couldn’t deny the convenience of being able to buy that book I’d been dying to read, that new pink blender my wife likes for whatever reason and the latest Sony PlayStation videogame for my buddy’s kid–all in one fell swoop.

    What was decidedly not convenient was the service. The baby-faced attendees weren’t exactly attentive; they were too busy rehashing the most recent episode of American Idol to notice me. When I finally did manage to scare up some help, the attendant managed to duck into the next aisle and disappear like smoke. Break time, apparently.

    Rather than quake in your boots when a Wal-Mart, Lowes or Home Depot breaks ground, instead press your advantage. Your store is more than a store; it’s even more than a solution to a customer’s problem. It’s an experience. And who better to deliver that experience than mom-and-pop shops?

    Fact is, customer service is your one tried and true weapon against those behemoth retailers–which, if they haven’t already moved in next door, are bound to sooner or later. When they do, you have a choice: compete, or close up shop.

    And you can compete, encourages economist Michael Shuman. In his recent book, The Small-Mart Revolution, Shuman makes the case that locally owned businesses outperform their “big-box” competition–both in outright profitability and in terms of the value they bring to consumers, workers and communities.

    If you need more proof, ask my very own parents. They live in an area bursting with big-box stores, yet insist on hitting our local music and video store every time they come to town. They like the service.

    On this particular trip, my parents were on the hunt for a digital camera. It was Saturday afternoon. As usual, the store was packed, yet a smiling staff member still managed to offer salutations immediately upon their arrival before directing them to a specialist in digital cameras. A series of questions later, two choices emerged, one with a slightly larger screen for a few dollars more.
    My mother remembered seeing the same model on Best Buy’s Web site for the same price; still, as the cashier rang up the sale, she felt like she got a good deal. But it was the same price, I pointed out. Mom’s response: Yes, but she helped me make the best choice. Now I don’t have to wonder if I should have selected something different. Simple math: better customer service, more revenue.

    Last summer, I went looking for a 10-foot-long porch railing. “No such thing”, said the feckless clerk at the mammoth supply store. To be fair, this guy specialized in nails, and I was asking for something a tad more exotic. Still, he clearly could have helped me out–though it probably would have required making a phone call, doing an online inventory search or some other arduous task. Who can blame him? There were lots of customers around; some of them might need nails.

    A phone call to the local lumber yard yielded better results. The owner answered–a nice touch–and told me that not only did he miraculously have the exact item in stock, he would be happy to drop it off in an hour on his way home. He even offered to put the railing on my account.

    Two years have gone by since that big supply store moved in–and revenues at the lumber yard are better than ever.

    Does great service cost more? Perhaps. Does it drive at least that much in extra sales? You bet. And it’s a mom-and-pop’s best weapon against those big boxes.

  4. Tammy Says:

    Today I went to buy my son track cleats. There are only two shoe stores in our town that that I know sell them. So I first go to store 1 (which I had been told was a little less expensive).

    We walked in and there were a few customers looking around and two “salesmen” standing by the door talking. When we walked in, one asked if we were looking for anything in particular. When I told him, he pointed to the middle of the store and said that they were there.

    After we looked, my son saw a couple he liked. The “salesman” was near by and not engaged with another customer, so I mentioned that we would like to try them on and gave my son’s size. He pointed and said all they had were there (to some shoe boxes under the display models). No offer to help us find the sizes… no offer to help.

    When we couldn’t find the size we needed (they may have had it, but the boxes were mixed up some and not easy to figure out which was the shoe we were looking at). After we looked a bit, I mentioned that we were having problems finding my son’s size.

    The “salesman” then said that they had sold a lot lately and were probably out. He then went back to his conversation with the other “salesperson”. We left.

    I went to the other shoe store that has track cleats. There we had a completely different experience.

    We walked in and had a salesperson actually help us! She discussed the plusses and minuses of the shoes we were looking out. She found the size for us (and even brought one size larger out since she knew their sizes ran small), offered advice – simply took care of us.

    While that store was slightly more expensive, that is the one I will go back to! No way will I ever go to store 1 again.

    I probably should mention that these were equivalent shoe stores (i.e. one was not a discount store, the prices didn’t vary that much and both are considered the higher end stores)

  5. Don Olson Says:

    Make the Follow-Up Personal

    I can not say enough about the importance of follow up calls and thank you notes. I would like to share with you some examples of following up with customers that were executed in a very professional and timely manner.

    After my son had purchased a car and had it for a while, he continued to be extremely happy about the purchase and even told some friends about the incredible service that he had received. A couple of weeks went by and he received a phone call from the primary salesperson. In a number of ways it was a standard follow up call, how do you like your new car, and do you have any questions and so on. What separated this call and what made it stand out were many little things. The first was that he remembered a number of facts about his wife and our relatives, which had come up during the sales presentation. He also remembered what he did for a living, which I find impressive. Maybe impressive is the wrong word but the fact that the salesperson remembered certainly made him feel less like a person who gave him a commission and more like a friend that he would like to do business with again in the future.

    The salesperson also asked about how a school play ended up going that my daughter-in-law was doing as a teacher. In the course of our conversation, we had mentioned to him that we were excited about the play that we were going to that same night. The fact that he remembered that in the course of selling us a car really said something to me, yes, he wants to sell a car but he is also genuinely interested in what they had told him.

    In addition, they also received similar follow up calls from the service manager, who took the time to outline a maintenance schedule and even offered the first oil change free. Following up on a completed sale is one of the best ways to develop relationships with customers that will last longer than one sale. I know when they are in need of another car this salesperson will be the first one that they visit.

  6. Don Olson Says:

    SITUATIONAL CUSTOMER SERVICE

    I would like to take a broader view of customer service. My point will become clear as you read on but it all started as I was standing in a line at a local discount store a couple of weeks back.

    It was a Friday night right before a holiday weekend and the place was busy and crowded, as you would expect. The problems started from the moment I entered the store as there were not enough carts for the people coming in and many people had to wait while people scrambled to round up more carts from the parking lot. As I began to shop for a barbecue, I noticed that the meat was running out quickly and a lot of other food that you would associate with a long weekend was low as well.

    I managed to find what I needed and was one of the few lucky ones who did not have to go to another store to complete their shopping. However, when I went to check out I was met with very long lines and even a longer wait. A store that has 22 checkout aisles for some odd reason only had FOUR of them open and one was an express lane. There must have been 70-80 customers waiting in three checkout lines.

    I share this with you, not to gripe to you, but to illustrate a point. Customer service is almost never the same. The principles of customer service always remain the same but how you apply those principles differ from situation to situation. In the situation that I outlined above, the situation demanded a higher level of commitment to customer service.

    My objective is to remind you that how you apply customer service on a Monday morning in the middle of September is going to differ greatly from how you apply it on Christmas Eve. The level is not any better or worse, it is just different. Situations and customers are always going to change and it is up to you, the professional salesperson, to change with them and ALWAYS maintain that high level of customer service.

  7. Daniel Says:

    This is the way things should be, get off what we are on now

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