“A little help?”

We have all been there.  Walking by a playground, a college campus, a beach or schoolyard, when we hear the call’ “A little help?”

We all know how to respond.  We immediately search the area for an errant ball or frisbee that needs to be returned to the person asking for help.  Finding the lost item, we toss, throw flip or kick it back to the owner hopefully with some accuracy.

Continue reading

I sent him away

He was timid, reserved and soft-spoken.  We have all run across this type of customer before.  It’s challenging to get them to warm up to you, they can be slow to offer information and they can even be hard to hear.

I greeted him and asked him what brought him into the store today.  A rather defensive “I just came in to look” was his response.  So I told him to look around and that I would check back in a few minutes if he ran across any questions and then I set off to help others who had just entered the store.

As I circled back to him after a few minutes, it was clear to me that he that he truly was looking for something specific as he studied the hang tags and pulled garments off racks to look at. It seems that he had needed some time to decompress and check things out on his own terms when he first entered our store.  I re-approached him.

Continue reading

The “Expert” – Part 2

bigstock-the-words-hello-i-am-an-expert-36518137

This second post on working with experts looks at the customer that perhaps grossly over-estimates their knowledge, is mistaken or is just plain wrong.

Marshall Field supposedly said “The customer is always right.” This is a great way to proceed with your customers unless they are wrong.

In these situation, you can turn to Aleister Crowley and his less famous quote for guidance “The customer is usually wrong but statistics indicate that it doesn’t pay to tell him so.”  So, what do you do when the customer is wrong?  The key when working with pseudo-experts is to be patient, gentle and respectful.

Continue reading

The Expert – Part 1

EXPERT – Someone having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience.

expertThis is the first in a four-part series on dealing with experts in your retail store from several different perspectives.  For the sake of these posts, when I refer to an expert I am referring to someone who has advantaged knowledge or experience about the products being sold and their usage. Today’s perspective is dealing with a customer that is an expert.

Continue reading

keep-calm-and-listen-to-your-customer-11-jpg-2

I was doing a little research today and I ran across an image that caught my eye.  Digging a bit further, I discovered the image source was from Keep Calm-o-matic.

The Keep Calm-o-Matic is the place to express your creativity, dreams and imagination. You can create, discover and shop.

They make a variety of customizable products based on the WWII poster used throughout England to encourage their citizens to carry on in spite of the rocket attacks and bombings from the Nazis. (The website is so easy and engaging I bought a customized poster and a coffee mug and I do not even drink coffee.)  See for yourself at http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk

You have no idea…

optic

Last fall I was in the market for a new tent and after doing some research, I narrowed the choices down to just three.  Given my size, I like to try tents out before I buy them so I headed out to the local Mountain Hardwear shop where they had the Mountain Hardwear Optic 2.5 in stock.

Having done my research ahead of time, I knew the statistics on the tent such as dimensions, weight, packed size and materials.  I also knew the price.  At $240, it is a moderately priced tent in the Mountain Hardwear line, where tents can range to over $500.

I arrived at the store nicely dressed and freshly showered.  As I entered the store, I was greeted warmly by the person near the cash wrap as I made my way to the back of the store to the tent department.  As luck would have it, the Optic 2.5 was actually set up on the sales floor for display.  This kept me from going through the hassle of asking to have the tent set-up.  As I bent down to crawl into the tent, a clerk approached me.

Continue reading

Useful POS

Dockers POS

I always appreciate point of sale materials that are both useful and well designed.

I saw this POS display designed for those of us who are a bit “fashioned-challenged” at my local JCPenney. (JCP clearly knows their target audience since not many “fashion-forward” men are shopping at JCP and many of their male shoppers made need some guidance.)

Shoppers do not need to know the lingo of the fashion industry to buy a pair of pants, they can simply look at the illustrations and read the description to decide which pants to buy.  Nice job Dockers and JCP.

Too bad it makes no mention of actually taking the pants into the dressing room and trying them on.  But that is a different issue.

Please add value

Handbook_for_architects_and_builders_(1898)_(14592609900)

Retailers would have you believe that Memorial Day Sales cannot be missed.  The advertisements make it sound like the stores are giving things away for next to nothing.  Caught up in the fervor, my wife and I headed out on Monday to catch the end of some of the sales.

As we wandered through one of the stores something caught my wife’s eye.  Uninterested, I continued to wander through the store when a customer interaction caught my eye.  So I moved in for a closer look. Something just didn’t seem right.

Continue reading

Selective deafness

Polish_Army_Parade_2015_(21023591328)I stopped by a local shop the other day.  I was in a hurry and just needed to pick up one thing.  Grabbing the item, I headed to the registers.

Along the way, I overheard a customer talking with a salesperson.

“It’s as if you didn’t hear anything that I’ve said!”

That is a phrase you never want to hear a customer say and I know that interaction had gone badly. I only wish that I hadn’t been in such a rush or I would have stopped to observe more.  I moved on to the registers and was quickly out the door.  As I was getting on my bicycle, I looked up to see the customer getting in his car and driving away; empty-handed.