How do we tell the customer no?
This is a topic I wish my managers would approach more carefully. The leading argument of customers opinion is that they must always be delighted. Here’s my take on this subject as someone who has spent a few years in retail.
Well fed employees lead to higher customer interactions. If your working staff feels respected and admired, they will pass that feeling onto their customers. I’ve seen this in several forms. From pay structures to company policies. I believe it starts with one easy step: let your employees say no to customers.
Right now, If I talk to a customer and they ask for special pricing or free delivery I have a couple of options. First, remind them of the “already lower pricing”. Second, request a manager to look over the order, or third, tell them that this pricing is as low as it will get. No matter the route I take, I can say with considerable confidence that my managers would offer a discount.
Here’s where this is an issue for me, that paints all your sales people as liars. “I’ve shopped here before, I know the hoops, just go get your manager,” customers will begin saying. This is an issue for a number of levels, namely, your managers become sales people. And if your managers are sales people, why have managers or vice-versa? To counter this I believe the best stagey is full transparency. How are sales people to know what managers are trying to accomplish when they hide reports and goals as “Managers only”? One of my favorite aspects of my current position is the free nature of our pay.
Because everyone knows what they make off their order, the group is on even footing. An issue arises when our leaders make unknown amounts based on our successes. From the point of views of a staff member, this seems to be a way of restricting commission payouts to a different audience. If we had free access to discuss and learn how our leaders are actually monitored and rewarded, I would feel more confident in that leadership.
Effective leaders should maintain a sense of responsibility without strangling their group into dominance. If you only create rules you intend to break, then your followers will not accept them. (Interesting how my inner Machiavelli comes out.)