Thursday, December 3, 2015

Everyone's In Sales

For this past Thanksgiving, I decide to let my adventurous chef out, and roast a turkey. 
I had been hearing great things about how a roasting rack (that fits in a roasting pan) does wonders for cooking, so I decided to go and buy one.   After a little bigt of research (that is, talking to my friend the ex-professional chef), I discovered that the All-Clad brand was the way to go.
I checked it out on Amazon, and saw it listed for $24 + shipping.   I then had the thought "I ought to support my local retailer, if they have the same product in stock at a similar price."
I called our local cooking supply store, and they had the item--$25, but no shipping.   What the heck, let's go brick and mortar shopping.
When I went into the store, I went right up to the counter, and said to the cashier, "Hi.  I'm here to purchase an All-Clad roasting rack.  Can you tell me where that would be?"
A slow look of confusion washed across her face, and then she painfully raised a hand to point a finger in the general vague direction of the back of the store. 
"It should be over back there."
I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt, and assume that given her vagueness, these must be very easy to find.
I walked to the back of the store.  Nothing.  No oven racks--all clad or any kind.
I came back up to the counter.
"Can't find it."
She lobbed out the phrase "You should check online."
"Online!"  I thought. "The whole reason I came in here was to support you guys.  And you don't care whether I buy this here or not?!"
Instead of yelling, I said, "Can I speak to the manager?"
The manager was quite approachable and friendly.  As soon as I mentioned the All-Clad rack, he perked up even more, and escorted me to the aisle in the back, where, lo and behold, one was actually in stock.
As I walked up to the front, I thanked him for his help, and also shared with him the challenges I'd had in the store up to this point.
Now it was his turn not to get it.   There was no sense of acknowledgement to me, that I was actually offering some customer feedback to help him and his operation.  Whether he felt embarrased or not, he now wanted nothing more than to send me on my way.
When most customers jump ship, at last report, they say their old service provider was "Okay."  Take feedback to heart.  Most people don't bother offering it.
Many of these same people who say "things are OK"  then turn away and never return.
And, as you know, it's a whole lot easier to keep an existing customer than to get a new one.
Everyone who touches that customer is in sales.   Make sure they know it, and more importantly, act it.


  1. Alain, you are singing my song. Given the choice, next time you are making a purchase, you may elect to make it online. (As suggested by the cashier!) And as that brick and mortar store becomes smaller and more automated, the manager and the laid off clerks will blame the fickle, disloyal customer.