Subject Matter Experts or Intimidating Puss Faces?

September 28, 2009 by  

Sears has a long way to go to convince me that they’re the place to go for advice on home electronics. Quite franky the only thing I ever buy from them is a Craftsman screw driver or socket wrench every 5 years. So when I started seeing these “Blue Crew” ads, I really have to wonder why should I talk to intimidating looking puss face employees?

Shouldn’t they be warm and inviting and give me a sense of confidence? Shouldn’t they make me feel comfortable talking to an enthusiastic and knowledgeable floor staff who can demystify some of the techo-babble? Instead (in my opinion) they appear angry, condescending and don’t want to be bothered.

CrewFirst impressions count. Whether you’re the size of Sears or a solo-preneur, your business needs to make a good impression from the top all the way down to the front lines.

So when was the last time you observed how your customer facing employees present themselves to prospects and customers? Not lately? Then why not conduct some secret observations to check how your business comes across to those who want to do business with you? Make some some blind calls or inquires through the website. Evaluate common points:

  • Time to respond
  • Enthusiasm
  • Knowledgeable
  • Attentiveness
  • Was your problem solved to your satisfaction?

Document it. Share the results (and your expectations) with your staff. Then do it again next month.

What else would you suggest?


One Response to “Subject Matter Experts or Intimidating Puss Faces?”
  1. Pete Aldin says:

    Great point. It's a little like ducking into the men's room to check you haven't got anything at your teeth during a business meeting: worth checking in with how others see us.

    Early last year, I got a wake-up call on this as a solpreneur that I was coming across as embarrassed of my business/services. I was a little shocked. It seemed that my deference to others, my 'give me a call if you need something' approach to sales was coming across as weak rather than respectful. So I've worked hard over the last 11 months to ask for the sale, to ask for action, to speak highly of myself and my Unique Value Proposition.

    Guess what, people are either saying an outright NO (rather than keeping me hanging on) or more importantly, many many more of them are saying YES, so much so that I have been able to let go of the employment I had to return to last year, to relaunch Great Circle.

    People should give some thought to what you say here, Roland. It's a necessary reality check and yields actionable results.