A Great Example of Winning Retail Sales Through Service

In my last blog post, I shared an experience of how poor service costs a retailer enormous amounts of money each year – through lost sales. And, this happens without the retailer having the even slightest idea of what is happening.

I would now like to share an experience – from the same shopping morning (but a different shop), which reinforced to me how “good service sells even more than the customer had intended to buy.”

I was looking for a pair of gym shoes.

Being a loyal customer, I headed to the same sports shop that I had purchased my last pair of gym shoes from.

I walked in and was looking for the same brand that I purchased last time. A very friendly young customer service assistant approached me and asked whether he could help.

I explained that I was looking for a particular brand.

He told me that this shop did not stock this brand anymore. And then he added, “But, we have another brand – Saucony – in a wider fit, which is better than the brand you are looking for.”

He led me to a range of shoes and showed me a pair for 469 dollars in our local currency. Without trying to do conversions to your currency, let’s just say that this was a high price – much higher than I wanted to pay.

I thanked him and told him that I didn’t want to pay that amount.  He then showed me another pair of shoes from the same brand – his second recommendation. It was more within the price range that I had I mind.

I tried a number of sizes in this range – and decided that this was not the right shoe for me.

I was putting my shoes back on, intending to leave the shop empty-handed.

But the customer service assistant was persistent.

“Maybe you will like the Puma. I think that you will find them comfortable,” he said, in very helpful tone.

I’m not sure what it was about this guy. Perhaps it was his likeable manner. He seemed to be focusing on helping me rather than on winning a sale.

So, I found myself sitting in front of the Puma range.  And, sure enough, I found a pair that was really comfortable.

But I didn’t like the colour. So I asked the Ghan, the customer service assistant (by this time, I knew his name and had engaged in small talk) to show me different colours.

I liked the fit, and tried this style in various colours. But I didn’t like any of them. So close, but yet so far…

Ghan patiently packed the numerous boxes ready to put them away.

I was feeling sorry for Ghan. “You go and serve other customers,” I said. “I don’t want to take up more of your time and deprive you of the chance of making a commission from your sales.”

Ghan looked me in the eye and told me that the sales staff was not on commission.

And with gentle  persistence, he said, “Nike also has a range that you might be interested in.”

By this time, I believed that Ghan understand what I was looking for, and was really trying to meet my needs. I trusted Ghan.

So, I sat down and tried my third brand of shoes for the morning.

Once again, it was close, but not quite right.

Let me fast forward you to the end of the story…

After investing time trying on 3 different brands, and spending 45 minutes in the shop, I finally said to Ghan, “Let me try on the 469 dollar Saucony shoes that you recommend.”

And, sure enough, they were perfect. A great fit and a colour that I liked.I walked out of the shop with a pair of gym shoes that cost more than I had originally intended to pay

So, what can we learn from this experience? Ghan had delivered great service that created a good sale for this shop. He had built trust. I felt that he was listening to me and was trying to help me solve my problem. He was not pushy. Rather, he was very helpful. I did not feel that he was trying to sell to me. Rather, he was helping me to buy. And, I liked Ghan.

I walked out happy. Ghan got the sale. The company got the profit. I filled out a customer feedback form praising Ghan. I will go back to that shop again. A classic win-win-win for me, the shop and for Ghan.

And, one more thing…the power of positive word of mouth. The name of the shop is Studio R, Mid Valley Mega Mall, Kuala Lumpur. Ask for Ghan. But beware, you may end up spending more than you had intended!

Until next time.

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