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The $62,000 Comment - by John Stanley


A report was recently released that showed women shoppers would look on retailers who load their purchase into the car more favourably than those that do not. They mentioned it was one of the highest customer service offers that would impress them when they went shopping.

I recently presented at a conference in the USA where I mentioned this and I was assured by all the owners in the room that this was a common practice in their business.

This started me thinking about the gap between what the owners think is going on in their business and what actually happens on the shop floor. I doubt very much that all the retailers in the room had a complimentary car loading service that was implemented and if they did I wonder how it was implemented.

A few years ago my wife experienced this first hand.

The $62,000 Comment

Our local supermarket has a loading your car service to differentiate itself from the other food retailers in town. For many years it was a service which we never used. Then, Linda, my wife, broke her back and was in a back brace for 12 months. She was bed ridden for many months and then slowly regained her walking capability. Eventually she was able to drive to the shops and do shopping. She camouflaged the brace as it was not something she wanted people to see. She did her shopping at the local supermarket and then went to the cashier and mentioned that she had broken her back and was unable to carry the shopping to the car.

The cashier was excellent. She called an assistant and asked the woman to load Linda’s shopping into the car for her, she did not however mention Linda’s disability. The assistant duly took the shopping to the car and loaded the car. Once the shopping was in the car Linda thanked the assistant. The assistant looked at Linda and in a sarcastic voice said “Don’t go exerting yourself today will you.” and then swaggered off.

Linda is very independent and was uncomfortable having to ask for help in the first place. That comment humiliated Linda. Linda was so upset at the assistants comment that she refused to go back to that supermarket for 6 years. Linda told me that her average weekly spend at the supermarket had been $200 per week. Over 52 weeks she spent $10,400 and over the 6 years she refused to enter that store, that assistants comment cost our local supermarket $62,400. Even today if Linda needs assistance with her shopping, which occasionally she still does, she shops elsewhere rather than be humiliated at that store again.

The owner had set a policy in place, the policy was implemented, but not all the team members understood the reasoning or the implications of their role in the policy.

They could be a “day breaker” or a "day maker”. In this situation the sales person made the decision that they would be a “day breaker”.

The unfortunate thing was they were thinking they were having a “go” at a customer, when in fact they were reducing the income of the business and affecting their own and their team’s job security.

How often does this situation occur because team members do not understand why certain policies are put in place by businesses?

Make Sure the Team Understand their Role in the Customers Journey

Customers judge how good a business is on the key “human touch points.” Touch Points are the critically important customer relationship points in your customers mind when they are dealing with your business. If those touch points are ignored or handled badly they can affect your business’s bottom line in a big way.

Every business has touch points. They will differ based on the style of business, the business values and company policy.

Many business owners are often not aware of where those key touch points are in the customer’s journey and as a result they do not monitor them closely enough. They often feel that this is “common sense” when in reality they are areas of “rare sense".

In a hotel the touch point can include how the room cleaner communicates with the customer. In a restaurant it is the relationship the waiter has with the customer. In a retail store it may be the relationship the cashier and car loader has with the customer.

The key to success is as follows;

  1. Identify the key touch points in your customers journey.
  2. Train your team to be aware of and understand the importance of these touch point.
  3. Introduce a RAK, (Random Act of Kindness) strategy at your business’s touch points to ensure your customers becomes impressed with your business at this point in their journey through your business.
  4. Measure to make sure that what you think is happening is actually happening.

It could put another $62,000 on the bottom line.

Source: John Stanley - The $62,000 Comment