At the CIMTech conference recently, one of the speakers said:
If you wanted to learn which was the best TV or Hi-fi to buy, where would you go? My bet is that you wouldn't’t go to Dixons or Currys*. You just won’t get the information you need from the staff there.
He was explaining how much front line staff have been de-skilled of over the past 10 years.
Staff in call centres follow prescribed speeches and look for options on a screen for what to say next. Sales staff in shops are not educated in the products that they sell. Indeed, as a consumer, there are few places where front line staff are more knowledgeable than they were a decade ago.
Yet these are the people who are the public embodiment of the brand.
To me this is a no-brainer – it is near impossible to create a great customer experience without investing in front line staff.
There are 4 things that I think companies should do:
- Hire people who are interested in the products and services they are being asked to sell
- Give them the time and information they need to stay on top on the products you offer and of general developments in the market
- Empower them rather than make them follow pre-determined scripts
- Make ‘making customers successful’ their mantra
I often hear how difficult it is to differentiate your business. This is a really simple way.
* For those on the other side of the pond, Dixons and Currys are the UK’s largest high street electrical retailers.