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Tuesday, January 29, 2008

When is a sale... a sale


I can't remember if I have used this exact photo in the past postings, but I like it, so here
it is again. I haven't posted for a week, have been traveling for the consulting side of
blueknowser. I was on a flight last week when I met a fellow Bluenoser
and she commented that Nova Scotians tend not to support people who are successful. It reminded me of this quote from Edgar Watson Howe
"if you succeed in life, you must do it in spite of the efforts of others to pull you down. There is nothing in the idea that people are willing to help those who help themselves. People are willing to help a man who can't help himself, but as soon as a man is able to help himself, and does it, they join in making his life as miserable as possible."
I enter this quote into the post because it shows that the trait is not a Nova Scotian exclusive. Howe was
a novelist and newspaper man in the Mid-west of the USA in the early twentieth century... probably never met a Bluenoser.

Who is responsible…

At times, I am astonished by the actions of employees of companies that I come into contact with as a consumer. Too often it seems as if they think it is their responsibility to drain their frustrations on me. They give new meaning to having a cloud over their heads, and I am the one who is going to get wet!

Learning about how the parts department was at fault for my car repair not being finished; finding out that the flight schedules are to tight; hearing that house-keeping forgot the towels or there not being enough waiters in the restaurant; and many similar events limit my propensity to do business with the establishments in the future. This blame game is rampant in business and has a lasting impact on customers. flight is being delayed because room; management is responsible for

If an employee is dissatisfied with a situation, what is their responsibility to protect the customer from finding out the problem, before it’s resolved? What is the responsibility of an employee to go the extra step to ensure that thethe worst impact? The larger question may be what is the responsibility of an employee to do everything in her/his power to ensure that the establishment is successful? Or, is the employee responsible only for the functions of the job description… not the success of the impact of a problem is mitigated before a customer experiences enterprise?

In large companies, and even more so in small businesses, whether it is a service, distribution, or manufacturing entity… it is critical that the employees be aware that they have a direct impact on the success or failure of thetheir job is to do everything in their power to ensure the satisfaction of the customer… be it an internal customer in a larger company, or the ultimate consumer in any company. Management must find a way to engender this culture in its complete employee base. enterprise. Part of

I believe that a key to accomplishing this goal is to redefine when a sale is complete. It is important to help employees understand that a sale is complete when the customer buys the product, again! When the restaurant; buys another car of the same make from the same dealer; flies with the same hotel, it confirms that the original transaction was in fact satisfactory to the customer comes back to same airline or stays at customer.

From the redefined sale, I have found it easier to help employees see their responsibility and more importantly their impact on the sale, and ultimately the success of the enterprise. A service tech learns that their repair of a car impacts whether a customer buys the same brand at the same dealer; the airline agent or front desk clerk of a hotel can see how they can impact the success of the company with whom they are employed; the food server realizes that they, as well as the quality of the food can help bring the patron back for another meal.

Of course, we still haven’t gotten to insuring respect for the enterprise’s success by the employee. The management should also be sharing how sales flow to salaries, benefits, and staying in business. We shouldn’t be shy about communicating the basics of the income statement, cash flow and balance sheets with our employees. How else will they come to understand how they can help protect their job?

I have found that involving employees directly in the success of the company using this logic is empowering. It relieves the manager from 100% of the responsibility for assuring today’s employee expenses will be working toward having repeat business. There are many studies that indicate getting a new customer is 80% more costly than keeping a repeat customer… this factor tends to make a company more successful on the bottom line, while assuring growth on the top. Try redefining when a sale takes place in your enterprise.

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Grad. Saint Mary's University, 1975, got into the medical device business initially in sales, then various management positions up to president, all in Medical Devices. I prefer therapy products over diagnostic, but they are all fun, and in a way have defined my life. I have now evolved, with help from my 35 year partner Lynnda with whom I now share every hour. I am into staying healthy, photography, kayaking, bicycling, gardening and two books a week. I wish I had gotten to this stage earlier!