61. Improved Service And Sales With Roger Simpson
TRANSCRIPTION: THE CUSTOMER-CENTRIC SHOW PODCAST
with Mel Telecican (Customer-Centric Coach)
Episode 61. Improved Service And Sales With Roger Simpson
Hi there and welcome to another episode of customer centric show. This is Mel Telecican your host and this week I am having a conversation with the author of the retail solution. He is the specialist to help businesses optimize their sales and their service and he has had plenty of years in the game and really knows what he is talking about so I am going to give you a rundown of what is going to be sharing in that episode so you know exactly what you are going to be talking about. The necessities of recruitment process. The reason that we need to be setting up processes and why our staff should be involved in that process too. A story about global business that focuses on customer affection. The benefits of implementing digital customer experience feedback. I am not talking about review sites here. So actually implementing yourself. While research continue to reflect 96% of customers who have had a negative experience actually wouldn’t complain mystery shop style assessment of customer experience can be inaccurate. What the top tips are in profitability to retail environment. Can conversations meet to sales boosts and why we often set up managers for failures apparently? This is really common in what you can do to change it. All in this episode I hope you enjoy it. It is about 30 minutes so let’s get into it.
Mel: Roger Simpson is a CEO of retail solution and has worked in retail himself for over 35 years. His company focuses on helping their clients improve service and sales and focus on service standards, sales techniques, measure up and follow up. Roger believes these 2 areas can be improved dramatically to provide the end customer with the great experience that means more visits and increase sales. Rogers company helps owners and managers put in place the skill learned into the training sessions by following up in store. The focus on training managers is excellent coaches so that they can actually provide ongoing supporting in their store as managers. Over the past 19 years retail solution team have trained excessive 5000 frontline staff managers and owners so I am interested in learning the tactics of how you do this. Good to have you with us this morning Roger.
Roger: Thanks Mel nice to be here.
Mel: Now I am looking for example of a customer centric business of you are aware of or experience yourself. What is your example?
Roger: I got a couple actually and obviously Apple is the one I think you mentioned before everyone rolls so that’s one that always stands out because they got such focus on service and it is also I think what they do is because they provide such a good service is that people buy more from them but they are other one that actually thought of where I had personal experience where I went into Disney land to the to Disney institute and we had 2 days at there so actually take us through their training and what they do to deliver such an amazing experience when you visit the park.
Mel: So most people access the Disney institute?
Roger: It is a public course. I went there with Tom who runs the business with bakery. So Tom and I went with his managers and it was just amazing insight because they actually shared the whole training program and it was actually really good because it also confirmed some of the stuff that I have been doing here in Australia and new Zealand was actually the right way to go and the big thing for me Mel was that surprise there is no quick fix.
Mel: Sure absolutely. You need to be giving that consistent focus and change something that does take while.
Roger: Sure does Mel. It was amazing experience and I still talk about it like it was yesterday.
Mel: That’s interesting because Zippos have documented all of what they do and people can buy the books on how they run their business so that whole transparency I guess willingness to share what it is that they do so effectively with other people is just that next level isn't it?
Roger: Yes it is and it is because they got it so well documented and they got well processed but also it is about the people. It is interesting because the Disney trainer we had, he sit to us and said we still got 20 percent of our people who probably are not right for business and it was pretty amazing.
Mel: How do they identify that?
Roger: Well they are constantly because one of the key things they do is that every single day team leader had to go and evaluate 3 of his team so dealing with guests. You go with the gate or it might be hotdog stand or on the certain right. So they constantly get evaluated and then getting people feedback so that they can tell from that process also everyone is going to have a training plan so everyone is really focused about learning and keep being really good.
Mel: So that 20 percent they look at that and look at how that can give them some sort of professional development to solve issues and if they cannot then they are gone. Anything else that stood out for you?
Roger: One big thing I talk to my clients about is that they introduce us to non-negotiables and what Disney is very clear on is that they have certain rules in their business and they are completely non-negotiable and they introduced those from the first moment you actually interact. So if you are applying for the job, you are introduced to non-negotiable. So what it does of course is it weeds people out because it is a bit like a cult and so focused and Disney is a bit cultural as well because they have certain style of people that they want. So they recruit to that and it just weeds people out who not going to fit there.
Mel: Great so qualifies people to that position and then it shows makes it very clear what the commitments that are required.
Roger: Yeah and it is so obvious because what frustrates me here in Australia is that you going to a store and people don’t smile and etc. and they are allowed to do it because no one is doing anything about it and I will guarantee that in their process it must say you must smile every single customer. So why doesn’t that happen? It is because they are allowed to do it.
Mel: That’s right. So in terms of non-negotiables then one of the consequences if you don’t do it, is that instant dismissal? Like is it that serious?
Roger: Depending on what it would be but it is more that use it on particularly as recruitment process but actually got that and people go oh I am okay with it. So often people go somebody I want to do I will get it and see how it go and obviously it gets enforced so often those people were actually fall out through the trial periods but they continue to use non-negotiables once they are in and those apply. So they would use them and they use them as coaching pieces. So if someone is not performing to the standard required then obviously get feedback and improve and if they don’t improve then that’s down the warning track. So that’s pretty simple.
Mel: Nice and clear like you said it is follow up in going back and making sure you re-enforcing those things and I think that’s something that a lot of businesses just accidently don’t do. I have said that these are the perimeters of your role, this is what I am expecting from you but actually re-visiting is really important. Now we talked 3 areas in our show Roger about how we can keep our customers and get more of them and I expect you got plenty of reasons for examples and tactics of what we can do to do that. What is your suggestions?
Roger: It is actually pretty simple. It is defining what the customer actually wants so when I come into whether it is a bakery or clothing store, what do they actually want? They want to be smiled at? So it is all styling stuff. It is having a process to follow but they need to understand the reasons why they do it not just do it and if they get the why piece, the much more likely to do it. Then it is obviously training them to those processes. Then it is managers owners have to leave by example which is just critical and then next 2 step we see don’t happen anyway near enough so it have to follow up. It have to have service evaluated so what they are actually doing? Are they planting steps to have that we train them on? That they have agreed to and if they are, they get positive feedback. If they not, I hope to improve and it is simple as that.
Mel: I want to pull you right back to the first thing you mentioned and that was around defining what the customer wants because I have spoken to a lot of people about this who are exceptional business people and there is very much responses. A lot of them say well there is group of people who say they need to find out what the customer wants and then there is another that says often customers don’t know what they want so if you ask them you are going to end up with whole variety of responses that may not be effective. So what your thoughts on that and how we can articulate what they want?
Roger: Yeah great question. So for me I got my foot in both camps just because I can. So I would say this well about the basic service steps don’t change. Again 99 percent want is that when they walk into the store they want to be acknowledged and generally in 19 OT 20 seconds because most of us are busy. They want to smile etc. So those things you can just get verified with your customers because you can do survey about service etc. so there is interesting and this is about how we serve them and the technology etc. and because that’s changing dramatically, I just actually finished running a blog this morning about what companies are doing and one of the particular that has been really customer focused is amazon and they said 95 percent of our future focus is on what made us to the customer. So that’s the challenge. A lot of customer don’t know what they want but again it is because of the technologies i think are evolving quickly as well as that sometimes we got to present things to them and get their feedback and see how they go and see like ATMs and banks closing out. It is like self-survey. Some customer love that and other hate it.
Mel: So it is resting really, you got to measure and not throw the whole system out but start introducing people to it I guess and then getting comfortable with it so that you can streaming. Okay now surveying, I love survey in lots of ways but I think they can be problematical in that when we survey people we sometime skew questions and then data we getting back is actually not going to help us anyway change things.
Roger: Yeah there is a few different ways now and of course the old fashioned way and one of the clients with bakery who has been extremely successful and time actually puts a lot of success down to getting customers feedback so he as customer feedback but he does it so well. What he said is that if you put them by the counter, if someone is grunted, they are not going to pull the card and pop it in. So you need them in the shop somewhere where people just easy access. So it is making easy for the customer. So it is the old fashion way and as I said he sees that help his business grow dramatically. Now obviously with technology now there’s a lot phone data that we can gather and people using loyalty cards as well so we can actually tell when they are in the store because they swipe their cards and of course then it is about if they get text message 3 minutes after their walk out so that’s bit of like you are being stalked. That I think is invaluable feedback because it is so fresh. I am going to remember and of course it is about making it easy so there is options about you can respond about text, call, e-mail. So we are testing and measuring with different customer because it is certain thing with certain people but I think that feedback powerful because from that and again what is happening is I have a colleague who have a business and he does this and he said what could happen of course you get alert because customer is disappointed and that can be actually text to store manager and they can ring the customer within 5 minutes and this research hasn’t changed for years is that 96 percent of customer don’t actually complain. They just walk out and don’t come back. So if you can find out and what happens with most customer is when we intervene when there is problem and we actually fix the problem and most customer as you know don’t know much, we fix the problem then they actually become more loyal. I think that whole technology is amazing because as you know with getting data from that customer service, of course the mystery shopping is big thing and I think that getting day to out because that’s very hard too, it is expensive. Then the data comes 5 to 7 days afterwards.
Mel: And it is moment in time to right. Depending on whether it is peak time or you know the underperformance is actually the quiet period because the staff are more relaxed potentially. So that can have issues too.
Roger: Exactly and also the problem is about that because you have got and measured once and so you got 2 or 3 thousand customers so your customer experience is evaluates 1 out of 3000. Statistically not great so that’s why I think the technology with surveys is just brilliant.
Mel: Yes and I think just whether people respond to those things or not does do and I think it sets the tone and says clearly we are trying to do something. We monitoring this because we care about our business sure but we are about what you thinking and willing to do so and timeliness attached to feedback is key too right?
Roger: Absolutely that’s right. It is like anything. It is getting customer feedback immediately but it is also turn that around as well because my mission in life is to turn managers and owners into their own mystery shopper for constantly evaluating their staff. Not to catch them out but to recognize most of the time good work that’s done because that gives positive feedback. People would actually want to keep doing it. It is so simple but also if see something not happening you can fix it.
Mel: Absolutely. Great opportunity to collaborate right to if you were down to results for whatever reason. Get everyone to have on chat and go look this is where we normally sitting but had come or not what do you think could be and yeah great. Now let’s talk Roger about profitability. I know you got big focus on sales and improving the ability to sell effectively. Can you share what your best practices are around what you can do in retail environment to boost that profitability?
Roger: Absolutely. There is two different examples of it because I have mix of clients and some are just served customers across counter so that’s service stations, bakeries, liquor stores etc. and so they are opportunity to maximize the sale is to happen it on counter because most customers are self-selecting so they walk up to a counter and you ask to help them and this and this and in liquor store environment where I did some work with one of my clients. The customer is choosing whether buy box of beer or water whatever. They just want to come to the counter just sales over unless you get something from counter but that’s being done so poorly over many years. Customer actually often get turned off by it so it is using good techniques. It is about engaging the customer and making aware of a product or service or combo deal whatever they may not be aware of that asking them to buy it. That’s the secret.
Mel: Okay without explicitly asking but hinting or educating about it.
Roger: Yeah and using language like did you know about our special today and it is so simple because you are not asking the customer to buy it but asking if you know about it and if the customer doesn’t want to know then great no problem then you continue with the sale. If they go what is it then you allow it and actually getting the information. You don’t actually go why you don’t want to buy because then you are trying to close it. So it is just so simple and most I see few retailer doing that. we did switch it to on the floor for example where I got a lot of retailers that I work with, man that is an opportunity because the customers coming in so then you can actually find out their story and then you can match their times with the story and they watch out.
Mel: There is more opportunity for the conversation there isn't it because the nature of browsing as a post to coming in and setting out.
Roger: Absolutely and it is about their walk out with more than one item and it is simply just as i said finding out. Is it for work? For weekend? What I also recommend is how this is going to go fantastic with it and you know what like. We love that sort of stuff. So it is so simple but how often does that happen?
Mel: Yeah and it is just that suggestion isn't it? It is that gentle offering. I find roger in my experience having a restaurant is that sometime people find it hard to do that suggestive selling. They felt like being pushy. So what do you say to your managers that you talk to and people they help? What do you suggest they do to stop that feeling and they can actually feel they are being helpful?
Roger: Correct. And it actually start with the words you use. Selling word has been around for years isn't it? and we always talked about we have to suggest to sell and because of selling in it, to me as soon as someone hear that word oh man… and say no you don’t, your job is to inform so for example in a restaurant and you just say when you got some restaurants why do we taken and we think about what we want to buy and then the way comes over and the next I am with buying special because it is the way they described it and they have actually I have credited experience for this now and what I find too many times particularly in a fast food this is pretty guilty and we just transact. It is just like next next next, there is no feeling in it and if you got an opportunity and generally doesn’t take too much longer to have 3 or 4 minute conversation, if it is a little bit longer we can have 15 minute conversation we can recommend why and it is amazing how we can lead more customers. I think we just pretty like it when somebody helps us.
Mel: Yes true. I am not a shopper Roger. I don’t like shopping, I don’t like cloth shopping all that much which is ironic because my mum owns a boutique but the thing that I find easy when I do go into those environments is when someone actually tells me some story in some capacity so it might what you are looking for I guess introductory questions sure but then actually like the attendant recently said to me actually someone teamed this with this and I would thought that geez look great but do you want to try because of this and it was that storytelling and the other person's experience and the benefit they got as a result of that which made it easy. It wasn’t the same conversation that you hear elsewhere and so it was helpful. It was informing me what could work. It wasn’t guaranteeing anything and what that does too which I think is very important part of process is actually not making people feel like they have buyers remorse when they walk out of the store too. So what is your thoughts on how we can minimize that too because that is going to affect our lifetime value of the customer as well.
Roger: It is just actually being honest and that’s the key thing I believe is about particularly in clothing but it is not selling stuff to people just to make the sale and it is anything. It is not about buy this and this because we don’t just go back then. Same if we pushy, if someone actually forced us to buy something and okay buy it and then it is ridiculous so it is all the whole time the customer needs to be in the driving seat with deciding whether buy or not. I just need to present it to you and I love that language that lady used on you. Had they teamed this up? Nice isnt it? It is different and that’s what we see frustrating when everyone tries to up sell for use actually the same language. Would you like to blab and customers go no.
Mel: Absolutely. Now Roger let’s talk about your work towards sales and service can actually do help management or owners have a bit more time because as business owners we have flat chat over time and it can be very hard to end up working on our business because we are trying to put our efforts in it. So how does you do that actually help do that?
Roger: Yeah and it is a real catch 22 because what I find is that managers attend to a lot of firefighting because one thing they are very poor at doing is delegating and unfortunately in Australia as well we tend to see that managers up often to fail because we say okay so you got all that work to do. You got reports to do etc. banking blah. You are also responsible for the people and what happens I find is a lot managers do 50 percent of tasks things and only about 20 to 30 percent of people things and as you know retail is people business and it is not out there working with our team evaluating what is going on. Looking on things to improve and talking to customers as well, then we are not going to grow on our business. So back to Disney model when they train us to do this they said our team leaders have to spend with the day and he said they spend 70 percent of their time in the park. So I believe that we need to get managers doing what they should be doing which is working with their people. That’s the challenge. What I find is a lot of people become store manager because they have been there longest or they are best sales person and that just kills everything because that’s how you lose your best sales person and often them off the floor and often not the best manager because it is different skillset.
Mel: That’s true because I am thinking of different examples across industries where yes that opportunity is completely lost and then in terms of relationships with the staff below you where you set up is that it actually reduces people's perception of you as a person because you don’t seem connected to what is happening on the floor.
Roger: Exactly and the old saying about and that’s how it exactly it should be I mean the one role model that I look at dramatically for his ability to spend so much time doing nothing and having a great time is Richard Benson and he is the master delegator. He said old thing that you got to surround yourself with amazing people and when you do that, that’s how you grow and I think the big thing about my retail is that unfortunately it is not seen a place to have a career. It is just been stop get and so what happen of course is that people who would be so talented and so we lose those great people and what happens is that we tick that all. I chose someone because I need to fill the gap.
Mel: It is so true. But bringing back to your record bans on comment I really think that the fantastic thing is him asking questions makes people feel valued. Their opinion is valued. That creates great employee engagement is terms of moral. That’s brilliant.
Roger: Because you see in some places manager aren’t available. They are in the office and I can’t talk to etc. and so they just don’t are part of team and the other side of the corner causes the manager doing too much in the way or serving instead of actually sitting out of that and just do it for 5 minutes and then I will step back out because if you get caught next you lost 4 hours and so then you get behind on course. As you know retail is challenging. It is never as tom says retail is simple but never easy.
Mel: That is 100% true. I like that though that sort of stepping out being on the floor. That modeling of how you really well some sort of coming in coming out all the time. People foreseeing how you do things.
Roger: The great restaurants have the point guard. They have the person who is just making sure that the way staff are doing exactly what they need to be doing. They might do survey and bringing out things and things which are behind but they are the person that’s free up and is evaluating and we just get too busy being busy.
Mel: The next step Roger I guess is being very careful about how you reveal those observations too because you cannot be negative. You got to be focusing on great things. It is fine balance right because you got to get message across.
Roger: Yeah that’s right. what I fundamentally believe that most people want to do a good job and they don’t deliberating miss things and get into bad habits and they haven’t been followed up and that becomes the way they do things so we can intervene and change those things because the 2 of the simple models we have is obviously when someone doing it right you give them 5 seconds to praise and keep them doing it. If they are not doing it correctly it is about 15 to 20 second conversation between customers because and if it made flat out busy then you don’t have time. It is more like I fix it now and we try bit later but it is good time to then observe later on and say how is this still happening. It is 15 to 20 second conversation to fix it and but that’s the role I believe of a manager and unfortunately we don’t see the focus on here.
Mel: And tone and all sort of stuff come into play there too because that can work against you. Fantastic. Now to finish up Roger I want to know what is something that you are working on at the retail solution that’s in the work that you are excited about that you like to share with us?
Roger: Yeah I think for me it is interesting because I have just had this year and it has been bit of pumping year with fixing clients and also getting some new clients coming in and I have just been getting fantastic feedback about our feedback processes and one example is hairdresser just this year and his team later came to my training last year and he is not sort of person who would give a positive feedback which he sort of fully admits and I met him 3 months later and I said how is it going and he said this positive feedback is really working. Now staff is more motivated. They are doing that I want them to do. I said that’s great. So what is happening with your sales? He said my sales have doubled. Sales are particular product not overall but it is massive amount for a business and all he has been doing is they came to my training and took a back and they actually put in place and taking it step by step and then now they are re-building some amazing rewards so that’s what excited me Mel and just some in store visits like I said I do training one day and we go into store to put in place and managers are just helping them with the way they give feedback because most of the time they just tell managers what to do and I am going like you are going to change that around too because otherwise the store manager they just don’t understand, they don’t take ownership and so they just change the conversations and see dramatic change in attitudes and performance so very exciting there.
Mel: I love that you actually go back and asses what you are doing too and see what could be improving along the way as well. Now if people want to find out more about what you do roger where they can connect with you or find your business as well.
Roger: Okay. Couple of ways. LinkedIn is always a good one for me so just find me at rogersimpson at the retail solution and my website if anyone want to take advantage of my free ebook they can download and that’s on my website so www.retailsolution.com.au and there is also some training on there so just bit of resorts library there.
Mel: That’s great roger thanks so much for your time today good to have you on board.
Roger: Thanks Mel.
Improved Service And Sales
Roger Simpson is the CEO of The Retail Solution and has worked in retail himself for over 35 years. His company focuses on helping businesses improve service and sales through better focus on service standards, sales techniques, measurement and follow up. Roger is passionate about service and sales and believes these two areas can be improved dramatically to provide the end customer with a great experience that means more visits and increased sales.
His company helps owners and managers to put in place the skills learnt at their training sessions, by following up in store. The focus is on training managers to be excellent coaches so they can provide ongoing support to their store owners/managers. Over the past 19 years the Retail Solution team have trained in excess of 5000 frontline staff, managers and owners.
During my conversation with Roger he shares:
- The value of having not-negotiables in the recruitment process
- The need to establish processes for a consistently positive customer experience
- The need for staff to understand the ‘why’ for implementing processes
- A story about a global business that focuses on what customers perceive
- The benefits of implementing digital customer experience feedback
- Why research continues to reflect that 96% of customers won’t complain about their negative experience and the resulting impact
- Why ‘mystery shopper’-style assessment of customer experience can be inaccurate
- His top tips to boost profitability in retail environments
- How conversations and connections with customers can lead to sales boosts
- Why we often set our managers up for failure and how to change this
- The need for management to be present in the work environment; and
- His client’s fantastic results using his feedback model approach
Roger’s Example Of A Customer-Centric Business
- The Disney Institute on how they optimise the customer experience
Selected Links For This Episode
“The whole time the customer needs to be in the driving seat on whether they want to buy it or not” Roger Simpson
“It’s not selling stuff to people just to make the sale…because buyer’s remorse is horrendous. We just don’t go back then” Roger Simpson
“I believe most people want to do a good job. They don’t deliberately miss things they just get into bad habits and they haven’t been followed up and that becomes the way they do things. We can intervene to give feedback. If someone’s doing it right give them 5 seconds of praise and it keeps them doing it. If they’re not, it’s a 15-20 second conversation to fix it.” Roger Simpson
“I believe we need to get managers working with their people. A lot of people become a manager because they’ve been there the longest or they’re the best sales person. They’re taken off the floor and you lose your best salesperson. They’re often not the best manager because it’s a different skill set” Roger Simpson
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