Episode 9: How to Apply Selling with a Service Mindset

Michelle:

Thank you for joining Episode 9 of our Season 2 of the Reboot Program. In this episode, Gabe Baradi continues our topic on how to apply Selling with a Service Mindset at work.

 

Gabe:

Welcome back! In our last episode, were you surprised to learn that Customer Service is Selling? In the past 15 years of understanding frontliner and customer experiences, we observed that there is a gap between what frontliners think their customers want versus what customers really need. 

When a customer enters your store, it’s one of two things which would determine the kind of Customer Experience they should receive from you: 

  1. The customer is looking for something specific to buy. 
  2. The customer is undecided but wants to look around.

As a frontliner, we should be able to proactively find out which among the two scenarios apply for each customer because the way we serve them would have to fit their needs.

For the customer who already knows what to buy. He or she may have checked online about the product, saw it on social media or someone referred it to them. In a restaurant, these would be customers who are already familiar with the menu. They want the service to be efficient. Efficient service though does not only mean it was fast, efficient means it was done promptly without sacrificing accuracy and great service. 

For the other customer who is undecided, you should be able to tell this from their body language. They are looking at the display, they could also walk slower as they go around your store. What they want is the Browsing Experience if you are in retail. Now, this does not mean that the customer does not need us or we should wait for the customer to approach and call us. In many restaurants, this is the experience of some customers. After the menu is handed to them, the frontliner forgets to return to help them decide what to order. 

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For both types of customers, we need to proactively offer assistance consistently. There is a reason why service standards are called standards. They are what our employers have determined to be the kind of service we need to deliver to customers so they will try our brand or continue to be loyal to the brand we represent. Every time we do not follow the standards, we are taking away from that customer the full experience that they should be receiving from us. 

Another observation among many frontliners is making the conclusion that a customer who wants to browse first is not someone who will buy and therefore a waste of the frontliner’s time. 

This is a clear example of having a Taker Mindset which would make any customer feel that they are not valued at all. The frontliner who has this mindset would look at the customer entering and based on his or her judgments will make a decision whether he or she should offer assistance or not. Now, imagine how this customer would feel when another customer enters and the frontliner made the judgment that this customer looks like he or she has money, they are dressed well, and then the frontliner gives better service. To the first customer, it’s a case of discrimination. Many customers leave stores and never come back because of these experiences. As a human being, to have a stranger lower your self-esteem through bad Customer Service is truly unkind. No one would like to be discriminated upon based on your appearance, the clothes we wear or the way we speak. Sadly, this happens to different people, including you and me, when we enter some establishments as customers. 

What frontliners miss when they have this mindset and behavior, are opportunities to sell. Between a customer who knows exactly what he or she wants and a customer who is browsing and therefore “open” to buying, you have more opportunities to sell more products to the second customer if you sell with customer service.

Remember this, if a customer leaves your store empty-handed, that sale that should have been yours, you gave it willingly to your competitor. 

Going back to our customer who knows what he or she wants to buy, we are still expected to sell effectively by understanding their needs why they prefer a certain product. 

Why is this important? You might argue that “the customer is already asking for something specific, let’s just give them that”. You’re not selling then; you are simply a store attendant getting items from the stockroom. If you took the time to understand how the customer will use the product and why they want that item, you will be able to guide the customer better to making an informed decision to buy a better product that could be higher in price but a better product in terms of features, giving more value to your customer. If you did not bother to talk to the customer and ask questions, offering a higher priced item will make you appear to be hard selling. There is nothing wrong with UPSELLING customers. In fact, this is an important part of Customer Service and a skill that will help your company recover faster. 

If you do not upsell, you are taking away the chance for a customer to buy a better product. Usually, the frontliner does not do this because we are thinking of the budget of the customer. Unless you have x-ray vision and can see the contents of the customer’s wallets, and can read minds, you should not discriminate against customers based on your perception of their capacity to buy. Aside from upselling, you still have to do CROSS-SELLING. 

What is the difference? Cross-selling is offering other products that could complement the first item or complete the set. In restaurants, these are accompaniments to the dish ordered, or another dish that will go well with the other food ordered, or offering beverages and desserts. Again, there is nothing wrong with cross-selling. If you do it with the Giver Mindset, the customer will be happier that you did it, because you were able to share more information to your customer. 

That customer will be able to try new items on the menu or understand that this product will work well if used with another product that you’re cross-selling, like how it is when you sell skincare products or cosmetics. 

The biggest blocker we have in selling with a service mindset is FEAR. It’s not the kind that you feel in your heart, it’s more of a mental fear that makes us find shortcuts in our work and not follow the standards set by our employers. These are behaviors that will not survive in the new world, which is why we are here to help you upskill through this Reboot Program. Start practicing what we talked about today. The more you practice, the better you will be. See you in our next episode. 

 

Michelle: 

We would like to end this episode with a few questions to help you practice what Gabe shared with us: 

  1. What prevents you from approaching customers proactively? Are there emotional triggers, and are there tasks that you feel are more urgent compared to attending to a customer? 
  2. Do you feel that you are already giving your 100% when it comes to selling and providing great customer service? If not, what score would you give yourself? Practicing Humility will help us in this exercise of self-awareness on our current performance.
  3. If you gave yourself a score that is below 100%, ask yourself what are your blockers to performing consistently? The more inconsistent we are in the way we treat our customers, the more customers leave our store not getting the full experience that they should be receiving from us. 

If you have questions about this episode, please visit the Reboot website and send me a message. Thank you for joining.