Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Hey, CEO, nothing you do matters!

C-Suite Executives, Brand Managers, Marketing Directors and Ad Agencies spend hundreds of hours and hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to be clever enough to convince their audience to be interested in their product over someone else's.

Guess what CEO, nothing you do matters.

That's right. All the best ideas you and your marketing people have are no match for the effectiveness (or ineffectiveness) of the grumpy, underpaid, unappreciated staff standing behind the cash register.

Case in point #1.

I was in Fabricland today (yes, I am that confident in my masculinity) and the woman in line ahead of me was turned away, yes turned away, by the cashier.

The conversation went something like this:

Customer: "So, I'm interested in the points program you have for regular customers."
Cashier: "That program expires at the end of August, and you'll have to pay again at that point."
Customer: "So, you're saying I shouldn't bother."
Cashier: "I wouldn't bother."

Here's another way of interpreting that conversation:

Customer: "I'd like to buy what you're selling."
Cashier: "Don't bother."

And the cashier looked a LOT like this person.

I can see them now - all the corporate executives, marketing people and agencies sitting around a table trying to design a loyalty program that is more attractive that the competition's; that will inspire customers to return; that will sell more products. They come up with a program that is so good, people come in the store asking for it.... only to be... yes... turned away.

All the brightest talent working on their best ideas, completely undone by the crotchety, hourly staffer counting the minutes until she can go home.

You've heard it before but you need to hear it again: your front-line staff are the face of your company. They create your brand. They sell your products. They cross-sell. They leave an impression.

Invest in them.

At least give them some scripting about how to address the new loyalty program with customers!

Case in point #2.

Me (at the gas station): "Why would I pay for the deluxe wash instead of the regular wash?"
Cashier: "I'm not sure."
Me: "OK, then I guess I won't bother."

Read my earlier post for the details on this one.

  1. Spend some time mystery shopping your own stores. You'll be amazed!
  2. Spend the 14 minutes it takes to write up some proper training / scripting guides for the front-line staff.
  3. Hire better. It's 2010 - lots of people looking for work!

Surely you have some examples of really crappy front-line service. Post a comment with your experiences!

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