Our lounge suite was looking worse for wear, so we decided to see what was around in the stores.
How it usually works in our household is that I go and explore the options and come up with a short list which then hubby and I go and view. I got the choice down to two stores, both of whom were relatively happy to sell me a sofa. So all good.
However when we went back to the second store, I carefully guided hubby past all the furniture to the lounge suite I had selected but no-one came over to us. So we sat on it and made our final decision that this would be the one. I looked up and over for some help from a salesman and someone eventually came across. It was not the person who I had originally seen and we had been in the store for a good 10 minutes considering our options.
I asked the salesman if he had stock – he said no but I could take the floor demo model at a slightly reduced price. We agreed on the price and that was the end of it or so I thought. When we went to the counter to complete the transaction, the original sales man came bounding across and had a full on heated discussion about me being his client with his sales colleague.
For me the customer, I can tell you it was a pretty awful experience from here on in. He stood to my left continually asking the sales person to give “me” to him and expressed his displeasure that I had not gone back to him specifically. He was putting the pressure on me to decide who I should deal with. Bad form. We completed the transaction and were out of there as quick as we could.
Got me thinking later though, for commission only retail sales people, where is the fine line on who “owns” a customer and customer choice. The fine line between company brand and customer expectation. In the first visit he was helpful but I did have to go and find someone to ask questions to so the service wasn’t personalised. It was at best, ok. On the return to the store, if we were “his customer” you would think that he would have come across to see us straight away. He didn’t.
So how and where do you draw the line?
In this instance the experience we went through at the counter was unacceptable – a customer should not be placed in the middle of an ownership battle between colleagues for commission. The flow on effect from this is huge.
- Customer service – any store values went out the window in that moment.
- Team training – how do you train a team to “care” enough about the brand and client experiences when the outcome is individual target based.
- Personal brand is paramount for the customer but the salesman needs to earn a living.
So if you have a retail based store and commission based sales people, how do you manage the balance between an excellent customer experience and individual commission targets?
I will be going back in this week to talk to the Manager and share the experience because I am passionate about shifting people in business to get real results. Perhaps it’s a worthwhile exercise to consider whether paying commission only reps in retail is the best option if customer service and repeat customers are important to the brand.
If you would like some help to SHIFT your retail team get in touch.
It’s time to SHIFT your team!