Everybody wants to feel special and get a great deal! It is that simple. Think about it: When this experience happens to you, you are excited and want to tell your friends all about it. So why does something so intuitive seem so hard for retailers to do? Are they afraid of losing money by hiring smart and passionate employees? The unfortunate answer is most retailers are stuck doing the things they have always done because change is hard. Leadership is what drives a company’s vision, culture and ultimate performance. Without strong and thoughtful leadership no company can exist for long.
There are a number of retail companies struggling and frantically looking for someone to come in and pull them out of their death spiral. J.C. Penney comes to mind following this past year’s turmoil with the ouster of ex-Apple executive Ron Johnson. Also recently J.C. Penney’s largest investor, Bill Ackman came out publically calling for the quick replacement of the interim CEO Mike Ullman citing he was “very concerned” about the company’s future. What is wrong with J.C. Penny? Was what made J.C. Penney so successful in the past still valid and are they doing those things today? What would a new CEO do to turn the company around?
Whatever the answer it better have making a customer feel special along with making them feel like they got a great deal shopping at J.C Penney a prime objective. How do you make someone feel special? Do you need a state of the art CRM solution with a tablet based clienteling application for your sales associate? The answer is no you do not.
Kirt Manecke’s award winning book, Smile: Sell More With Amazing Customer Service shares the simple and successful ways of earning a lifetime relationship with a customer. Kirt says, “Treat people the way you’d like to be treated. Be nice, be polite, and don’t be afraid to approach a customer to initiate an exchange. Make a friend!” This is amazingly simple almost to the point of being stupid to have to write about this. Unfortunately good manners and etiquette seems to be lost and must be re-discovered. This is where the thoughtful and strong leader steps in and takes charge of re-inventing and or re-discovering the company.
Technology is a great thing and has been unbelievable in how it has changed the way we shop. I know convenience, selection and price of a product is still very important to a retailer’s success and that technology can greatly enhance the quality of providing these things. Technology can also provide the tools to help achieve that special feeling you want the customer to have and for the customer to also feel like they got a great deal. It is the knowing of who and how you want to treat extra special and give a deal to no matter where the customer point of impact is that is key.
Technology is being used to provide the basic, consistent and rather simple techniques your sales associates must instinctively know but on a larger scale. The art of customer engagement whether on the web, in a store or even on a phone requires your company’s culture to be passionate about making the customer feel special and that they just got a great deal by shopping with you. This where that state of the art CRM solution with a tablet based clienteling application can be the tool for that well trained and passionate sales associate to accomplish these simple goals. What are your measured goals for your sales associates today? Are they about the measurement of sales per day with no aspect of securing lifetime customers? Think about it!
So let’s get back to the fundamentals first, and then worry about the technology. The goals of making the customer feel special and that they are getting a great deal is all it takes. All of the rest is just the supporting elements of these goals. And this is how you make money to!