You Don’t Have to Know Everything. You Just Have to Know Where to Find It.
I don’t have to know everything. I just have to know where to find it.
– Albert Einstein
Turns out Albert was right. When it comes to retail associates, it’s unrealistic to think
they can be experts on every category. With hundreds of assortments, they can’t really know everything about DSL cameras, car audio systems, smart refrigerators… you get the idea. But honestly, customers don’t judge associates on what they know. But they do judge them on how their efforts to get answers.
In my years of coaching and training in stores, and working with leaders on best practices, I’ve learned that often people’s insecurities drive their behavior. So you’ll often find a retail associate avoiding an area altogether. For example, as they approach the area, they’ll put their head down and speed up, as if they’ve got blinders on. And who can blame them? When you look at assortments today across categories it would almost be an impossible task to know everything about an entire category. Especially now that consumers are more educated than ever before. They’re less interested in what an associate knows about a product and more interested in getting validation for their research.
Sometimes the fear of not knowing is just overwhelming. But rather than develop strategies of avoidance, develop best practices for those exact scenarios—in which the exchange is beneficial to both the associate and the customer. Again, consumers don’t judge retail associates on what they don’t know—they judge them on how they’re helped. For starters, reading from the fact tag is never the ideal approach. And neither is avoiding the area. It can be something as simple as, “That’s a great question. It’s obvious you’ve done your research. Here’s what I do know [and then offer a summary]. If you give me a few minutes, I’ll see what answers I can find to your question.” Now, it’s a completely different outcome—and it’s an opportunity to have a shared learning experience. Now you can bet the customer will remember that associate is someone who went the extra mile—and followed through.
To learn more about how T-ROC brings the power of people and technology together to build innovative solutions for manufacturers, brands, and retailers, get in touch with contact Lou Kindschuh, Vice President of Business Development, [email protected].