Sunday, January 10, 2010
I just want one . . . Is that too much to ask?
A customer came in recently looking for a specific supplement in a specific form. He has been trying to find this item for almost a full year. Each time he came in, I asked him for information on the product since I was unable to find any information about it. He had read some obscure article from some obscure publication about some obscure product and he thought it would help his situation. Out of all the customers we had in 2009 he was the only one that asked for this product. But for this customer, this was the only product he wanted.
How many times do we look at requests such as this and 1) roll our eyes, 2) laugh at the absurdity of the request or 3) take time to understand what is behind the request? This may be the only product this customer wants from us. They may not know that alternatives exist. They may be extremely susceptible to slick marketing.
What is our role in this situation? Listen, Educate and Inform.
1. Listen to what the customer wants. Is the customer misinformed? Does the customer have some new information that we don't have? Listen and learn so that you can point the customer in the right direction.
2. Educate - This can either be on our part or on the customer's part. Either way we have a responsibility to familiarize ourselves about the latest product studies, dosage amounts, or whatever product information is relevant to the customer's needs.
3. Inform - How we deliver what we've learned is key to the whole process. There should be no secrets, no holding back, no misinformation. The slick marketing that most manufacturers pay millions for can sometimes be worthless compared to the personal approach we can offer. Having the right body language and adopting a tone or delivery that is comfortable for the guest can go a long way toward changing the guest's perspective.
To us, it's a unique request. To that customer, it is the only thing they want and they are looking to us to fulfill that request.
How will you react?