by Ken Vincent, Featured Contributor
WE continue to write about giving each customer what he/she wants. But, our efforts are largely bunched into a predefined offering, even though we know that not everyone wants the same thing. To compound the problem further no single customer wants the same level of service each time he comes to your place of business.
How do you know when I walk into your retail store whether I just want browse unmolested by a sales clerk, or whether I want some help? Should I be shown to the top of the line stuff or the sales rack as a starting point.
Nothing turns me off to a retail shop faster than pushy sales people on commission. I feel like a carcase that the buzzards are hovering over.
I’m not likely to look kindly on an intrusive service staff when I’m trying to discuss business in the corner booth of your restaurant.
I may stay at a hotel while attending a funeral and want to be left alone to deal with my unpleasant tasks. However, on my text visit I may want a romantic room service dinner and a good bottle of wine from room service as we celebrate a weekend getaway.
If your desk clerks are trained to recommend a visit to the spa, an overweight guest may consider that a personal affront.
While we accept the theory that different customers want different things, and that a given customer may want different levels of attention at different times, we continue to offer a package of facilities, products, and services designed for what we think they should want. We then spend a great deal of time and money training our staffs to treat everyone the same.
Perhaps we should be training our staffs to read what a customer is likely to want on a one on one basis instead. Could we be doing a better job at teaching staff to read the clues? If I come into your clothing store with a necktie over my arm the odds are good that I may want some help matching it to a shirt. If I’m browsing through the ladies purses, it is a good bet that I need help.
If I ask for a quiet table in the restaurant with a book under my arm, the probabilities are that I want to be left alone.
How do you teach your customer contact staff to read the signs and tailor their services to the expectations of each customer? To do otherwise runs a high risk of turning off as many customers as we please.