Two tales at a sale

Do your staff share similar attitudes toward customers? I was recently struck by two people working for the same organization in the same function but with opposite perspectives.

I like antiques so frequent estate sales. At a recent one, I found a set of 8 dishtowels bundled together. I only wanted two of them, so asked the staff member in that room if I could buy the two I wanted. She shook her head vigorously no. “You have to take the bundle,” she barked. I said I didn’t want the bundle, just the two. But instead of bowing to her certainty I thought I’d ask the manager/cashier. She said it was fine.

In another room, I found two similar sets of earrings in a case, monitored by another employee. I asked to see them. One was marked $12, the other $4. I asked the clerk if she could see why they were priced so differently. She said they looked very similar and asked which one I preferred. I said I liked the looks of the $12 set but liked the price of the $4 pair. She got out her pen and marked the $12 pair to $4.

Was she more empowered than the first woman? I don’t think so. I think she just had a customer focused attitude.

How about your staff? Do they vigorously say no to a customer’s requests? Or do they say, “Let me ask” and explore the possibilities with management? Do they take initiative when it makes sense? The latter makes more sales.