Written by Kelly Pierce, Chief Marketing Officer at Advisors Excel
They say, “Clothes don’t make the woman, but they damn sure make my day.”
That’s what I told my husband when I left the house Sunday morning on a mission to find all the best end of summer bargains.
My first stop was to one of my favorites, Banana Republic. The sign in the window read “SALE ON SALE — Extra 40% OFF EVERYTHING CLEARANCE.”
I was giddy with anticipation. After all, these are the things a girl dreams of. I skipped into the store, adrenaline rushing as I envisioned racks of my favorite dresses and tops marked down to nearly nothing. But as I turned the corner into the clearance section, I hit an unexpected obstacle — a sales associate was standing directly where I wanted to be.
I saw the blouses. I could nearly touch them, but I was roadblocked. The associate was totally oblivious. I stood there watching as she meticulously put every top in its place — x-small to large, white to black, sleeveless to long sleeve. She was laser focused on organizing all the shirts by color and size and wasn’t paying any attention to the people (mainly me) in the store.
After a few minutes of impatiently waiting, I couldn’t take it anymore and finally said, “Excuse me, Miss. I was wanting to look here.” At that time, with her head still down she moved ever so slightly, giving me about 12 inches of space so if I turned my body in just the right way, sucked in my tummy, I could wiggle into my destination.
Let me tell ya…combing through sale racks is hard enough work on its own, but when you’re squished with little to no breathing room, it’s nearly impossible and absolutely no fun.
I didn’t last long. There were plenty of other stores with sales where I could go and hopefully feel more wanted. As I left empty handed with money still to spend, I couldn’t help but think what went wrong. It wasn’t that she was rude, nor unprofessional. The problem came down to priorities.
Getting her to do list done was more important than helping me. And in her attempt to get everything checked off her list, she lost sight of why she was really there.
As John Wooden famously said, “You never want to confuse activity with achievement.”
With so many choices these days and so many businesses vying for loyal patrons, if companies and their people aren’t staying focused on their true purpose and why they’re in business in the first place, then they will ultimately lose market share and their companies will struggle to stay profitable in the long run.
Research tells us that more than ever, organizations are being built around outstanding service and experience. In fact, more than 70 percentage of consumers will spend more with a company because of a history of good service.* That’s where the real upside potential is for companies. And it’s why engagement is set to overtake productivity as the primary driver of growth.
Customers are the lifeblood of a business, so building a strong rapport with them and making them a priority each and every day is imperative to the success of almost any company.
I know I’m only one shopper. But I’m a good one. And I like to buy things…a lot. If that gal would have just looked up and moved out of my way, asked how she could be of assistance or showed me some shirts instead of just reorganizing them, I would have had a totally different, much better experience (and probably spent way too much money).
It’s hard work to dedicate ourselves to our clients all day, every day. It’s way easier to fold merchandise, send a bunch of emails or make a new to do list of things to do. However, if we spend all our time doing our jobs, we’ll ultimately end up failing to accomplish what we’re actually trying to achieve, and by the time we finally look up, all our customers will be gone.
*Source: How to Create Customer Engagement by Providing a Unique Experience, June 22, 2015 by Stephan Vincent
Kelly’s entrepreneurial instincts, ability to communicate and lead rather than dictate and manage, and commitment to see the overall big picture have allowed Advisors Excel’s 50-person creative unit to run stride for stride with the company’s continued amazing growth.
A Kansas State graduate with a B.S. in Business Administration; Marketing & International Business.