Great Customer Service Isn’t Selling

I stopped by Bath and Body Works not too long ago to pick up an impromptu gift for Jane. She was in New York with Abigail for the weekend and I noticed her body wash was almost gone. I thought it would be a nice surprise for her when she came home late Sunday night to see three bottles of body wash, each a different fragrance, awaiting her.

While I was at the store a nice young lady came to my aid. Like most men I tried to look like I knew what I was doing and like most ladies who work there, she could quickly spot a clueless male customer. If you’ve never been in the store there’s a dizzying array of choices (lotions, shampoo, body wash, etc.) and even more fragrances!
The lady was helpful, showing me I can take the cap off to smell the different scents. Like most males, I bought the first three I smelled. It’s much like sniffing wine; I’d never send it back but I have to do it to make it look like I know what I want.
I made my three choices, feeling like a bargain shopper because I got the “buy two, get one free” deal, even though the rational part of me knows nobody ever pays full price when shopping there. At the counter I thanked the lady for helping me and in response I heard her say, “No problem.”
She provided good customer service but blew the opportunity to sell it by squandering her chance after hearing “thanks.” So let me state this emphatically – providing good or great customer service is not selling! Unfortunately too many retail establishments and customer service reps think it is.
People expect products to work as advertised and they expect at least good customer service. Providing either becomes nothing more than an afterthought once the sale is made unless the rep sells it. So now you’re thinking; then what should they do? How about this:
“That’s part of the great service you can expect when you shop at Bath and Body Works. Thanks for coming in, I hope we see you again.”
Pretty simple, isn’t it? In fact, it’s so simple every employee can be taught to say it or some variation of it.
So what’s the benefit? It strengthens the connection between the great service and the company providing it. Done the right way and often enough, customers start consciously and subconsciously making the connection themselves. It makes returning to the store the next time a “no brainer” decision.
This taps into the principle of consistency. People want to be consistent in what they say, do and believe. If they believe your company has great products or gives great service they will continue to do business with you unless something else intervenes. And even if something else intervenes – like a lower price – your great service or product will give people reason to pause and think before simply reacting to price. But, if they don’t have reason to pause then why wouldn’t they go elsewhere if they can save a little money?
Brian Tracy, sales trainer and author of The Psychology of Selling wrote, “Selling is the process of persuading a person that your product or service is of greater value to him than the price you’re asking for it.” As a man I know very little about what women should pay for things like lotion and bath salts but I know someone helping me when I look helpless is adding the value that Brian Tracy refers to.
So here’s my advice; find a way to comfortably incorporate, “That’s part of the great [fill in the blank] you can expect when you deal with [fill in the blank].” Play with it, get comfortable with how it sounds, and make it your own. Doing so is a sure way to strengthen the connection in the mind of the customer and will lead to even more repeat business.
Brian, CMCT 
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes”.
2 replies
  1. Ruby
    Ruby says:

    I agree that giving good customer service is separate from selling. It actually gets quite irritating when sales personnel do that because they are not actually helping you get what you need. Good job for that lady for providing customers with commendable service. I hope she influences other sales personnel in the shop too.

    Ruby Chelmsford


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