Six Point Steers

Long ago as a teenager, I admit to hanging out in what we used to term Maccie Dees. Oh the shame. They had small ad boards next to the tills. I remember peering behind once and being amazed, and dismayed. A message was emblazoned on the back-side. No pretty colours. Just big bold black type on a white sheet. All a server would see was; it’s McDonald’s cola.

Even as a nipper I thought that this surely missed all its targets. Anyway, the other day, there I was, unusually in a South African burger chain called Steers. Encouraged to reach for the salt behind the counter, I noticed the same tactic still at play. On the customer side, a glossy ad for the latest juicy offer. On the rear, another staff message:

LOOK at me
SMILE at me
TALK to me
LISTEN to me
INVITE me back

I’ve long been fascinated at retail selling skills. There seems to be a total lack of them. Being English, I’ve spent my lifetime of shopping encounters cowering from the relentless awkward can I help yous. In America, the problem’s even worse from the other pole. Store assistants practically rugby tackle each other to make you feel uneasy at your personal space being eroded and forced smiles splitting you like a Bond villain’s laser. No mean feat when you’re already bombarded with vacuous salutations upon entering,

Why is no-one constantly training their retail people? In this particular fast food outlet, my server certainly didn’t follow this sextuplet of instructions. During the five minutes I waited, such greeting eluded half-a-dozen co-punters too.

It’s not that I think the six commands are ‘right’. But at least it’s a system. None of the transactions I experienced got even close to what the corporate ops manual compilers sought to reinforce. In part this is S Africa’s general problem rearing itself again (no employee initiative allowed or offered) but more so, it’s an all too common disconnect between point of sale and customer service diktat.

There are interesting B2B ramifications though, don’t you think?

The obvious crossover is with handling an inbound lead. This reveals so much about you and your company it’s scary.

Where do they arrive? Who qualifies them? Where do they get routed next? What does the enquirer want? As the potential beneficiary, what happens when they fall into the territory’s reps hands?

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