I received a call this morning from a large tire retailer, who wanted to offer my husband an additional 10 percent off the purchase of the four tires he tried to buy there yesterday. My response was, “Why didn’t you offer him your best deal while he was there? He went across the street and purchased new tires right after leaving your store.” Silence. So we said our goodbyes. The clerk, who called, was obviously not properly trained. He has no idea that we own other vehicles that may need tires. Why? Because he never asked, and I never told him. He could have easily asked the question if we wanted to apply this discount to other cars we owned or if we preferred to use this discount in the fall in case we needed new snow tires. An opportunity lost. Most likely for good as now we know these people don’t have the best deal in town. Nor is their service exceptional enough for us to pay a little extra.
Here are some things to consider.
Are you offering those customers in front of you the best deal you can offer them? If not, why? Are you waiting for them to go elsewhere so you can reel them back (big waste of time) or do you think you are so special that they’ll pay whatever you are charging?
This brings me to another point. If you are so special, then people will be willing to pay for the level of service they receive. Case in point. My family and I recently spent three nights at the W Hotel in New Orleans. The W brand is certainly not the cheapest brand in town and there are many less expensive hotels to choose from in a place like New Orleans. But this hotel did everything right. And I do mean everything. Not once did I think about how much money we were spending for this experience. Nor will I shop around for another hotel the next time I return to that city. We felt they offered value and then some. Not to mention those great little homemade cakes that were put out every afternoon by the huge pot of ice tea.
In this economy, every transaction matters whether you are a bank, a dry cleaner or a Fortune 500 company. Make sure your people are trained to treat your customers the way you would want to be treated and please, don’t call customers the next day and offer them a better deal than the one they should have gotten while they were right in front of you.
Author of the forthcoming, Suddenly in Charge! Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around (Nicholas Brealey, January 2011)
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