We were in the market for a new bedroom suit for my little boy who is moving out of his crib. My wife found what she wanted at Value City Furniture. Unfortunately they have no options to do anything over the Web (sales mistake number one), so she had to call to place the order for a bed, mattress set, end table and dresser – I’ll explain later why she can’t get to the actual store.
They told her that they aren’t allowed to take orders over the phone because of credit card issues. What??? I can pay for a bloody pizza over the phone! (sales mistake number two)
So now I have to run to this store with my 2-year old to order the bedroom set. I tell the salesperson, Bruce, that this was very inconvenient for me and asked him to explain why we couldn’t order over the Net or at least the phone. His response was that the “Privacy Act” prohibited them from taking confidential information over the phone. He stated it as such a fact that the President himself must have signed this Act into law. What???
He then made his major mistake and said that it isn’t a big deal to come to the store and it isn’t really inconveniencing me much. Now, what Bruce didn’t know was that my wife had been in the hospital for several weeks due to pregnancy complications and I was running ragged back and forth with work, daycare, and daily trips to the hospital with no family around to help – so this was a major, major inconvenience for me. (sales mistake number three)
He finally goes to ring me up and proceeds to tell me that his computer will only let him enter single unit sales and since I was buying a set, I had to go through the customer service department. What??? (sales mistake number four)
Since I’m extremely short on time at this point in my life, my only punishment was to not order the mattress set off of them. If I had more time, I would have blown out of that store completely.
So what can we learn from Bruce? Plenty.
- Make it easy for your customers to order your goods through a variety of outlets.
- Make sure your offerings are at least as easy to order as your competitors are.
- Don’t make a mistake and assume anything about your customer because here is where you can mess with their deep emotions and really screw up a sale. So stay away from politics, religion and things like that.
- Never tell a customer that you can’t take their order right now. If all else fails, write it down and enter it in the system later, but don’t pawn them off onto someone else to deal with.
Maybe we can start a list of our readers vents and put them together to deliver to sloppy salespeople that give us all bad names.