Monday, March 30, 2009

"Satisfaction Guaranteed" is now "Satisfaction Per Our Discretion"

Having been around the world of retail for awhile, I have been able to follow some of the patterns that develop in the store management world. Managers are there for one thing - to manage and make sure the money is coming in. Anything that prevents the money coming in, no matter how small, needs to be taken out of the picture. Here's the thing though. Some of their choices aren't the best outcome. Take this for example: A customer comes in wanting a pack of batteries. The batteries ring up at 9.99. The customer says they are on the shelf for 5.99. They want the price changed. Before the cashier can do that, they must call a manager to verify the change. The manager reviews the situation, and denies the customer the price change. So then the customer walks out, not purchasing the item. Wouldn't it make more sense to sell the item at 4 to 5 dollars cheaper than not make anything off it at all? You would think so, but no. It looks better on paper for them to not sell it then sell it at a loss. I personally would think that it would be better to sell it for a certain amount than nothing at all. You make at least part of the money, the customer is happy, and they are more likely to come back. If you deny them the sale, they are less likely to come back to purchase other items they need. In the short-term it might not seem like a big deal, but if the occurence happens more and more, and not just for prices, for anything of the sort that requires management intervention, the long-term effect would pan out to bad business.

Speaking of bad business, it can be blamed in part on micromanaging. More an more it seems, managers are all about the numbers. It has always been about the numbers, though. The thing that has changed is the sense of pride. Pride for the company, pride for the employees, and pride for the customer. Pride has all but vanished. Numbers have reached the forefront. Here's the problem though. Management's ever increasing and changing policies turn people away due to hassle and the lack of feeling support or understanding(remember the old term that seems to be disappearing "Satisfaction Guaranteed or your money back"). This leads to people not coming into the store, which leads to management cutting back hours due to lack of incoming funds to justify paying employees, which leads to lack of employees to help customers and to help upkeep the store, which leads to people not coming to the store because it is dirty, cluttered, and there is no help, and the cycle goes on and on.

Another factor to speak of deals with managers and employee relations. Managers of old would help work with the staff, encourage and praise them, and help the store succeed and move in the right direction. Looking at present day managers, not all, but most are young, inexperienced, sit around their office, not coming out to help short-handed staff, and pretending to know everything there is to know about managing a store, when in fact they have much to learn. They talk down to their employees like they are nothing, and overall decrease morale around the store, which also affects business. Of course, this negative energy flows down the chain of command. The managers' managers reign terror on them, then they do it to the low end employees, and then it spreads out to where the sales happen. A person who is constantly being hassled and discouraged is not going to be able to put his or her best effort forward in completing a sale.

So to reiterate, micromanaging can be a downfall and could be one of the factors for the closure of other major corporations around the country. Management not paying attention to how policies, which are deemed to be in good interest at the start, can have a negative affect on cosumer's wants and needs. Managers who don't appreciate the work that employees accomplish. Managers who don't know how to be managers. Maybe you have seen the pattern I speak of. Maybe not. Maybe you'll start to notice :) Either way, it's out there, and it affects us all.


Blogger Dave Hogan said...

I find the businesses that I keep going back to are the ones that will at least negotiate a price. If I call up and ask a price, and I'm willing to buy a reasonable amount of the product, I hope they'll at least work with me a little.

Mall stores don't do that so much anymore. It's part of the problems they're facing.

Monday, March 30, 2009 11:57:00 PM  
Blogger ChristopherAllen said...

This reminds me a bit of a recent story about the young woman who called 911 because she felt her McDonalds' inability to fill her McNugget order constituted an "emergency." Now, she is, of course, an idiot for this, and wasting the police's time that might have been needed for a real emergency, but when I read the story I noticed something else. She had ordered the nuggets in the drive-thru, paid, and was then told that they were actually out of McNuggets and would she accept something else instead such as a double cheeseburger? She wanted what she ordered, which obviously should have been in stock or, if not, the order taker should have been informed they were out well in advance. So she wanted her money back, but McDonald's has a "all sales final" policy. McDonald's technically didn't complete their end of the sale, so it seems clear the money should be returned, but with inexperienced and/or uncaring employees and managers adhering to rules and the numbers game over common sense and pride, you create a situation where a customer is quite rightfully dissatisfied. The 911 call is way beyond their fault, but it seems a simple refund for not being able to fill the order would have at least satisfied the customer enough that she might have gone down the road to the next McDonald's that would no doubt have had McNuggets on hand.

Friday, April 03, 2009 12:08:00 PM  

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