Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Can I help you?

I spent many years working in retail in sales, management and staff training. I was a successful salesperson because I didn't try to sell just any old thing, but had the skills to listen to a customer's needs and find the right product or service for them. That just means that I knew the features and benefits of the products for sale, and genuinely wanted to meet the customer's needs so that they would come back to me the next time they wanted something (which many did). For the years I was with a nationally branded women's clothing store, I consistently had the top sales figures for the state even though I was only part time. A good work ethic is vital: the desire to work as part of a team but step up as an individual when required, to do the best possible job no matter what the profession,and give an honest day's work. I've also worked as a "mystery shopper" which involves going undercover and checking out customer service in various stores to make sure their staff are meeting the company's expectations. Interesting work, although I don't do it now. You must remain objective and follow the instructions issued prior to the visit, including different purchase scenarios complete with objections and problems. So why am I on this soapbox? I've just been to a shop I hadn't visited for several weeks, and the last time I was there a trainee was pleasant, friendly and helpful. This visit I encountered a young woman I believe has been employed there for some time, and she barely made eye contact, kept doing another task while "serving" me and even started talking to another staff member while I was paying. Not good enough. A couple of weeks ago I wanted to buy some boots and was cashed up prepared to spend $150-$250, so I went to a local sho store I'd visited before. 2 senior staff were talking behind the counter, and although it's a small store, neither acknowledged my presence let alone came over to offer assistance even though there were no other customers. After picking up the same boot 4 times I took it over to ask for my size. I was told that they probably didn't have my size, because "We don't usually have big sizes" .I asked if she would mind checking, but her mobile phone rang so she sent the other woman who returned with a pair 3 sizes smaller and informed me "Nup, no big sizes". The was no suggestion of other styles or any apparent desire to sell me anything that day or in the future. I am an obliging type of person, so I won't be going back to disturb them again. My point: if you are receiving payment for doing a job, or even if you have volunteered for a job, please DO your job, and to the best if your ability. I don't care if you are a salesperson, garbage collector, politician, lawyer, dog catcher, bus driver or brain surgeon. Just do your job! There are certain checkout operators I avoid at the local supermarkets because I don't want to hear how they can't wait to get away after a 4 hour shift because they hate their job. Or the ones who believe that throwing items across the scanner and cramming them roughly into bags is being efficient. Many employees just don't receive good training, but a good attitude and work ethic can overcome many obstacles. Well, that's my venting over for now. Oh, and "Have a nice day".