Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A salesman minus enthusiasm is just a clerk

So like I said yesterday, I spent Friday in one of our two newly opened stores. Unlike our competitors here in Sweden we've never had our own stores, and have reiterated our standpoint on having stores many times over the years. Not for us. A waste of money. Etc. But finally we did a 180 and got ourselves two stores, one in our own neighborhood, in the shopping mall within a stone's throw of our office, and the other in a big shopping mall in the southern part of Stockholm.

See, we're the cheap telecom operator. Oops, sorry, not cheap. Inexpensive. Big difference. Whatever. We're always aiming to have the lowest prices of the four operators in Sweden, and throughout the years we haven't really been associated with supplying quality services. So it's a stretch for us to launch concept stores, but that's what we've done.

And the orders from Up On High was that everyone in mobile product management should work two days in a store, to gain understanding of the business and our customers. We have a similar policy regarding customer service, in that all employees of the company should visit customer service once each year to listen to and preferably take calls from our subscribers.

I was really nervous about going to the store. I don't consider myself a sales person in any way, shape or form, and felt that perhaps potential customers might be a bit apprehensive about the whole “big bearded guy in huge pants” thing. So I dressed in jeans, all be it big ones and in a very dark blue, and combed the beard. Hell, I comb it at least twice every day, but it sounded like something you should do before going to work in a retail store.

Like the employees at the store I got to wear a tee sporting the company logo across the back and the symbol for one of our subscriptions across the chest. I almost felt like I belonged.

I acted customer service, I acted expert on the sales tool (which I am in fact somewhat of an expert on), I got to talk about subscriptions and phones and even had to answer some questions about SAR values (that's Specific Absorption Rate, go Google it). I even facilitated four or five sells that I handed over to the store employees. Commission for them, personal satisfaction for me. Oh well.

In all, a weird but rewarding experience. I'm going back on Sunday for four or five hours. The weekends are more chaotic, so I may not be so positive after that. We'll see.


Warpedeye said...

I really, really like this policy at your company. Glad you got to experience it!

beardonaut said...

I like it too. Exchanging experiences like that, across different groups in the company is an excellent way to get a helicopter view of the entire business.