When a customer comes into your place of business, he/she has certain expectations of professionalism. Frankly it’s not their problem if your salesperson was not trained properly or, worse yet, if your “supervisor” is not supervising.
We need to take the time to make sure our employees are not being offensive. It may be the way they are dressed, their grooming or something as simple as the way they converse with customers. There are certain phrases that are offensive and it’s the manager/owner’s job to make sure they aren’t used.
How many times have you heard these things:
- How are you “guys,” or can I help you “guys?” People are not guys. They are people. They are men and women. Referring to a woman as a guy is offensive. Do not do it.
- “No Problem!” Salespeople seem to think that by answering with “no problem” they are not being offensive. THEY ARE! When you and I say “thank you” for some service, the answer is often “no problem.” It was not a problem, it is not a problem and it should not be referred to as a problem. Make sure your salespeople are not using that term. Instead, a simple “of course” is much better.
- Do not take anything for granted. In a restaurant for example, when the server drops off the check and you begin to pay, asking “do you want change” is offensive and rude. The same applies to every business. Taking a customer for granted can and often does lead to a bad relationship.
How do we know if things like this are going on? We need to learn to keep our ears open and tuned to what the people around us are saying. Listening is the most important thing we can do but, unfortunately, we often do not listen enough.
Our primary job is to teach. If we listen, we can. If we are preoccupied, we cannot.
Lee Klein is the Director of Sales and Marketing for Premier Lighting. A published author on the subject of sales development, marketing and branding, Lee joined Premier last year after successfully owning and operating local popular restaurants and running his Marketing Company.