Monday, March 23, 2009

Call the cops!!!

Hope you all had a great weekend and a greater still start to the week. At least the stock markets were on an upswing and it is a historic day for every Indian. 'Nano' was launched. A promise made was kept and as an Indian, it swells my heart.

My post to start the week has been prompted by one of the comments wherein it is mentioned that the staff did not even know the name of the product. This is a common enough occurrence and a huge problem for any retailer as also the customers. This is definitely due to the expectation that is created in our minds the minute we walk into an air conditioned, brightly lit store. The root of this issue lies in a variety of reasons, the least of which is the reality that most staff come from a very economically challenged background. Shall delve into that later this week.

This challenge has led to several awkward situations in a store, many of which were outright hilarious, like what happened in this incident.

One of the new staff at a store was very excited and enthusiastic. They had just attended the training program and the "wish the customers" rule was fresh and being actively followed. Suddenly this person rushed up to the supervisor who was busy checking something and stage whispered "Madam, please call the police immediately. It is urgent". The supervisor was initially alarmed, but decided to enquire as to what the matter was, before reacting.

Upon enquiring, the young staff, wide eyed and in a louder stage whisper said; Customer is asking for drugs!

The poor lady who turned out to be an elderly person had been asking whether brown sugar was available; for BAKING!

The supervisor in charge of the store later narrated this incident to highlight how one has to learn and improve continuously as training cannot be like in the film "Matrix"; load a disk and they get to know everything!

Will write more about this and some ideas that have worked. Have a great week.


Ravi Kodukula said...


This resonates with me. In fact there are numerous occasions when things turn from funny to a state of irritation as the staff cannot relate to you at many of these swanky retail outlets - especially when you ask them about alternative brands to the ones already stored.

I would look forward to more. Especially your views on the socio-economic strata of the staff at retail outlets and their ability to serve the urban customer!


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