Sunday, November 7, 2010

First impression and...service quality

Do you remember the moment from “Pretty Woman” with Julia Roberts and Richard Gere, when she gets money from her “friend” and goes to buy a dress?
She comes back to the hotel with empty hands because “they don’t want to sell me!
Why does it happen this way? The case described in the movie is not unique- it happens absolutely everyday. Our classification of those who may become our buyers is based on stereotypes, on our experience. This way we forget that everybody while being a part of a social group with certain characteristics is still different.
So many times it came out that our first impression about the potential client are opposite to the reality. And we may be wrong in few ways: underestimate or overestimate his/her financial status, determine wrongly the clients’ needs and expectation regarding the product we may offer.
Probably instead of playing the magician able to predict clients’ intention it is much easier to just ask the right questions. It is so easy: in several minutes you will already have a better knowledge of the person in front of you and its needs. Just a little bit of effort and will to overcome your own stereotypes may save many lost sales. You effort will be paid off with more satisfied and happy clients who will in most cases buy from you, because you cared.
Have you experiences such a situation either as a sales person or as a client?
How do you think we could overcome the barrier of first impression and avoid the preliminary selection of those who can or cannot buy from us?


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  2. It’s a tricky question how to define those who can buy from us or cannot. Today an andividual might decide not to buy, tomorrow maybe he/she changes his/her mind, or opposite. Does it mean the quality of service has to be different? I think there shouldn’t be a difference in attitude to potential customers and real customers. Today companies think more about their sustainability and how to make their customers(potential) loyal. In my opinion, companies have to educate their sales people how to behave properly, for instance, not to stare at customers while evaluating their financial status and purchasing intentions. Personaly, when I notice such a glance on myself, I feel uncomfortable and I want to leave the shop or whatever it is. Overall, I think customer service has to be provided in a friendly and definitely not in a pushing manner.

  3. i am old fashioned and i think only two things really matter in sales: price and quality. which is a direct consequence of how a good is produced.
    the rest is more or less irrelevant...

  4. Absolutely agree with you, Kateryna. Even if the client today is just visiting "the shop" he/she should feel as a dear guest, who is always welcome. Companies should aim to build loyalty, starting from the first visit of the client. Training of sales people is one of key issues that will lead to a customer friendly atmosphere.

    BashTheMsm- for sure when we go shopping our intention is to get a high quality product at an acceptable/reasonalble price. At the same time when there is the same product available in different places,probably customers will choose the one where they are treated nicely and with respect. Customers almost always have a choise. And as Kateryna told usually clients vote with their foot and just leave...

  5. quite interesting beginning!:) I think it is definitely happening when a firm is considering international expansion, when many different cultures and mentalities are involved.
    But I think most of time, customer behavior/demand researches could already tell most part of the reality, and the part of customers we lose because misunderstanding should be relatively small, right?:)

  6. Thank you for the comment and support, Carolyn!
    A good quality research increases the chances to succeed abroad. At the same time quantative research makes generalisation of the customers' needs, and hides the individual differences. This creates place to "misundastanding".
    Here is the time for the company's team to input its best effort to know better its clients. So the relatively small lose of customers may be diminished even more :)