What Message Are You Giving Your Customers?

By Sharon Worsley

Recently I stopped into a well-known name brand clothing store to potentially buy some clothes. I went into this particular store because they had advertised that they were offering some great discounts.

After I found several shirts to try on I went to the change room and when I entered I noticed a large sign that mentioned that I could earn ‘Super Cash’ and receive $10.00 for every $25.00 I spent. I had selected over $50.00 worth of clothing so I was expecting to save $20.00. However, when I reached the cashier I was told it was an old sign and that this particular promotion had expired.

I asked why they were still displaying the sign in the change room as it was false advertising. The woman told me that she didn’t know and didn’t offer any further explanation.

As soon as I finished my purchase, I walked back to the change room and asked to have access to two other change rooms just to see if the sign I had seen in the original change room wasn’t the only one with this sign and had perhaps been missed in being removed after the promotion ended.

Guess what? The other two change rooms had the same ‘large’ sign displayed. I asked another associate why these signs were still in the change rooms and she rolled her eyes as a sign of frustration and said that the manager had said to leave them there, despite no longer being applicable.

Then I did what I often do in these situations to test management, and asked to speak to a manager. I like to find out why people and businesses do what they do even if, as in this case, it is false advertising. I am always interested in the response I might receive.

The assistant manager was brought over to speak with me. He listened respectfully and then said that maybe it was only in the one change room, asking me which one I had used. I explained that I had, in fact, went into three different rooms and the signs were in each, to which he looked surprised. He then went and looked at two other rooms and again the signs were still displayed there too.

I told him I wasn’t expecting anything but that I had wanted to inquire into the reasoning for this store not removing the signs when clearly it would send the wrong message to customers. He apologized and then insisted on giving me an instant $20 discount even though the certificates he used were no longer applicable.

As I showed my appreciation, and he recognized that the store had not been proactive, he then gave me two more $10 certificates and reminded me that these certificates had to be used within the next two days when they would expire.

Wow, that was some great customer service that I was not expecting. He then told me that he was going to go to each of the change rooms after I left and remove the signs. I walked out not only with $20 in my pocket but with appreciation for an employee who understood the mistake the store had made and wanted to exceed my expectations.

As I entered the building that I live in, I noticed a representative from a major company that sells TV, Internet and cellphone services. We spoke briefly as I mentioned I already used their company for my cell phone and internet service for my business.

He asked what my business was, so I explained that I help business owners flood their business with clients using a system I developed that often costs them little or no cost to implement the components of the system. He was very interested as he explained that not only did he work for this company but he was getting into real estate. We had a discussion on how he could differentiate himself from other real estate agents by following some of my suggestions.

As we were wrapping up our conversation I mentioned that I run a Facebook group where I list various networking events in Toronto that he might find useful to join, and perhaps find some business opportunities. I named the group but noticed that he did not write the name down in the notebook he had. He asked me if I had a business card, but because I had just gone out to throw away recycling at the side of the building I did not have any business cards with me. Instead, he gave me his card and asked me to contact him so he had my email address and to include the name of the Facebook group.

Perhaps as you read this you might think that this is no big deal and in fact, you might have done the same. However, I would ask you to consider that I had spent probably 15-20 minutes or so giving this man business ideas to help him, including the name of a Facebook group, and yet he didn’t take the time to pick up his notebook and take down any notes. He could have also asked my email address and then written this down.

Instead, he was expecting me to do the work of reaching out to him, and also trust that I will do so. What if I don’t…he may have missed a good opportunity for his business!

So what did I do? As soon as I got into the elevator I ripped up the business card. Why? Because he didn’t show up as someone I would consider seriously committed to growing his business. You might think I am being harsh, but I have seen this type of behaviour before.

Points to Ponder:

Where in your business are you sending the wrong message to your existing or potential customers/clients? What is your method of following up with people, or do you expect them to connect back with you? If so, what might that be costing you?What can you learn from these two events that can serve your business?

Sharon Worsley, The Business Development Ninja™ is the creator of the R7 System™ to Flood Your Business With Clients Today, Tomorrow and Beyond, helping businesses to ‘Wake Up, Shake Up, and Show Up’™. She also consults and coaches peak performers to excel as leaders. To learn more, contact Sharon at [email protected]

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