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Thread: What every (CT) rep should know...

  1. #1
    David
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    Red face What every (CT) rep should know...

    While everyone here on this blog has a valid point, the fact remains that in CRM (customer relations management) it is on the onus of the company (represented by the front line customer service staff) to initiate a polite and positive interaction, regardless of the mood or disposition of the customer. It has been my experience in customer care that though a
    customer may begin an interaction with a rep in an "irrate" state, it is in the rep's power to turn the mood around so that the customer leaves the store satisfied. This however can only be done if the rep employs the needed charm, unthreatening body lanquage and tone of voice, and humble self confidence (nothing escalates a customer's ire faster than an arrogant, smug, defensive, or insincere response). Not every rep has these "soft skills" and thus is not really suited for the job.

    One of the secrets a rep must learn is not to take the customers "guff" (for lack of a more expedient term) personally. They are mad at THE STORE (unless your personal incompetence was responsible for the customer's related irritability to begin with) not YOU personally.

    Another thing I have always found valuable is to acknowledge the store's alleged error (even if the customer is totally "off base", acknowleging it is the first step to diffusing the initial anger). People will listen to other people who believe that the person with whom they are speaking is "on their side". I can not emphasise this point enough! Once they sense your "genuine" support (and it must be genuine because customers are not the fools many businesses would have you believe they are) then you have total clearance to resolve the problem calmly and satisfactorily.

    Remember that there is absolutely nothing wrong with saying to a customer "Oh my goodness, I'm so very sorry to hear that. That shouldn't have happened and I'll work to fix it right away!"

    Another valuable thing is to offer a discount or some kind of "freebie" (I know this isn't always possible in some companies but that is another topic --the lack of customer relations skills of the company as a whole). Nothing brings back a customer (and
    provides that all-valuable word of mouth) like a complimentary item or discount!

    One thing reps should remember, that is completely in their control is that many customers will specifically want to deal with you and only you if you have made them feel like "gold" (this is especially valuable if you're on a commission-basis pay of some kind or other).

    Reps don't realize that they can be as much of a customer draw to a store as any sale item. Conversely, a bad and percieved "nasty" rep (and it's all about perception, remember) will develop a reputation which will follow them where ever they go in their community, even to other jobs, and prevent people from entering the store as long as you are there. You think it doesn't happen? How many times have I heard friends tell me "see that guy, that's that a__hole who gave me the hard time at Canadian Tire".

    Anyway, these are things which your store (CTC specifically here) should be teaching reps. It is NOT the onus of the customer to create the proper retail mood or to "give respect". As my father used to say "repect has to be earned" and you'd be surprised what little it takes to earn that respect --that is the job of the service rep and the store. The customer may not always BE right, but it is your job to make them FEEL right. The service industry is a psychological one and this aspect of it is rarely and sadly missed in company indoctrination and orientation sessions. There is an aging computer tome which goes "garbage in, garbage out". Same goes for service reps. Give it (in what ever form you give it), and it will come right back in at you! David (Welland, ON)

  2. #2
    Member RogerRZ's Avatar
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    Re: What every (CT) rep should know...

    Wow! CTC, are you reading this?

    RRZ

  3. #3
    Posted by an unregistered user Guest-0034's Avatar
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    Re: What every (CT) rep should know...

    Great post, but in my CTC experience (I worked in 4 stores), the employees don't seem to care as they are generally only there short term while in school, and are getting paid minimum wage and are given hardly any training. They take alot of grief for next to no money so it is hard to be a great service rep (morale) when your dealer is making tons of cash at your expense. When our last dealer came in he cut the floor staff in half and expected the remaining members to pick up the slack. While he was improving his bank account (short term) the customer count and sales dwindled quickly, but he did manage to buy a few luxury items from the salaries he didn't have to pay out so he feels it didn' hurt him. Now the store has a bad rep for crap service and people avoid it like a plague (there are 4 other stores in the city to go to) and the employees are even more bitter and miserable as the customers that do still come in are all in a negative state of mind. A good dealer could have avoided this mess and yet the blame falls on the floor staff in the customers eyes.

  4. #4
    Hangman
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    Re: What every (CT) rep should know...

    The fact alone, that a Canadian Tire Sucks Forum exists at all, should tell you something. In regards to that last post, you say you've worked at 4 stores and you've found the result to be the same; the CT reps, simply don't care. And you're right. While working as a contractor for all the CT's in a certain city (about 8 stores) since 2000, I've also determined the same. However, upon hiring, most of these workers are ambitious, enthusiastic, energetic, and sincerely helpful. I met a certain individual who, on his first day of work, said "I love to help people, and I'm working on becoming a firefighter". Eventhough he volunteers, and contributes significantly on a regular, selfless basis, by the time 2 months had passed at CT, his attitude had changed and he couldn't stand serving people anymore.

    Perhaps he isn't cut out for customer service? But I'm sure we can all relate. I'm sure we all want to provide the best service. But it wears on you when one day you're working with new faces and you build a team with these strangers, only to walk into work another day, to do it all over again. The turn-over at CT is worse than your average gas station. Sure it may be a labour job, as most people put it, but can you consider customer service "labour"? How great of customer service can you provide when you're the new kid on the block, or everyone else around you is such. When only a handful of employees are "trained", and the others are just doing as their told, without knowing the whys, and whatfor's.

    I could go on and on about the corruption of leadership at CT. It's horrible to hear so many people call it Crappy Tire. They even have a Hamburger at The Works named "Crappy Tire"...but hey, you can buy with your CT money!! Yeah, let's celebrate how crappy, Crappy Tire really is, with a burger.

    No wonder I can't get a job anywhere else in customer relations with Canadian Tire on my resume. Potential employers just laugh and say,

    "Canadian Tire? No I asked if you had any Customer Service experience"...

  5. #5
    Posted by an unregistered user Guest-0139's Avatar
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    Re: What every (CT) rep should know...

    I just have to say one thing after working for Canadian Tire for 10 years; itís a give and take relationship. The customer is always "right" but when the customer comes in with a preconceived notion that they will get bad service, no matter how hard I try I cannot change that perception. Their perception is their reality. All I can say is that customer service is hard to master and our store tries to get it right all the time. If you are a skeptic of Canadian Tire all I ask is to keep trying. Start small, and go in with an open mind. Buy a drink or a candy bar and just walk around and observe. See if someone asks you if you need help. See if anything has changed. I agree that things need to change and I make a commitment to it everyday. But remember, Canadian Tire is one of, if not the only, major CANADIAN retailer. I would like to see more pride taken in this establishment by the owners, the corporation and the customers.

  6. #6
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    Re: What every (CT) rep should know...

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    I just have to say one thing after working for Canadian Tire for 10 years; itís a give and take relationship. The customer is always "right" but when the customer comes in with a preconceived notion that they will get bad service, no matter how hard I try I cannot change that perception. Their perception is their reality. All I can say is that customer service is hard to master and our store tries to get it right all the time. If you are a skeptic of Canadian Tire all I ask is to keep trying. Start small, and go in with an open mind. Buy a drink or a candy bar and just walk around and observe. See if someone asks you if you need help. See if anything has changed. I agree that things need to change and I make a commitment to it everyday. But remember, Canadian Tire is one of, if not the only, major CANADIAN retailer. I would like to see more pride taken in this establishment by the owners, the corporation and the customers.
    Why should I take pride in a corporation? Will they send me a dividend cheque if I do?
    Canadian Tire staff, for the most part, get their rocks off by being confrontational right from the get-go. They will NEVER have my business again.

  7. #7
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    Unhappy Re: What every (CT) rep should know...

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    Why should I take pride in a corporation? Will they send me a dividend cheque if I do?
    Canadian Tire staff, for the most part, get their rocks off by being confrontational right from the get-go. They will NEVER have my business again.
    It's that attitude that makes us confrontational right from the get-go. I don't care who you work for, and in what Country, if you confront anybody with your back up from the get-go, your negative energy just gets passed on. You have no idea what some employees have to cope with on a daily basis. From being yelled at, having life-jackets thrown at them, being held up at knife-point, to being sprayed with BUCK URINE. It's not easy to remain positive after 10 years, or 10 months in retail, considering the random customer abuse. All we as individuals ask, if to be treated as you would like to be treated. Not with ignorance or disregard for life, no matter how insignificant you think our job is. In some cases, it's all we have. Try not to look at it as a "corporation". Those are just regular people you are having a difficult time with, most of them are kids. And each store is individually owned, and each one is run differently. You can't just stereotype it.

    That being said, the employees have no idea what you've gone through either. It's a two-way street. Communication and patience are key. I hope you give shopping at Canadian Tire another shot, and with a different approach. We're only human.

  8. #8
    Sharon
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    Re: What every (CT) rep should know...

    Quote Originally Posted by Unregistered View Post
    Why should I take pride in a corporation? Will they send me a dividend cheque if I do?
    Canadian Tire staff, for the most part, get their rocks off by being confrontational right from the get-go. They will NEVER have my business again.
    Dividend cheque? You mean you're not satisfied with your Canadian Tire Dollars? =P

  9. #9
    Posted by an unregistered user Guest-0570's Avatar
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    Re: What every (CT) rep should know...

    Quote Originally Posted by David View Post
    While everyone here on this blog has a valid point, the fact remains that in CRM (customer relations management) it is on the onus of the company (represented by the front line customer service staff) to initiate a polite and positive interaction, regardless of the mood or disposition of the customer. It has been my experience in customer care that though a
    customer may begin an interaction with a rep in an "irrate" state, it is in the rep's power to turn the mood around so that the customer leaves the store satisfied. This however can only be done if the rep employs the needed charm, unthreatening body lanquage and tone of voice, and humble self confidence (nothing escalates a customer's ire faster than an arrogant, smug, defensive, or insincere response). Not every rep has these "soft skills" and thus is not really suited for the job.

    One of the secrets a rep must learn is not to take the customers "guff" (for lack of a more expedient term) personally. They are mad at THE STORE (unless your personal incompetence was responsible for the customer's related irritability to begin with) not YOU personally.

    Another thing I have always found valuable is to acknowledge the store's alleged error (even if the customer is totally "off base", acknowleging it is the first step to diffusing the initial anger). People will listen to other people who believe that the person with whom they are speaking is "on their side". I can not emphasise this point enough! Once they sense your "genuine" support (and it must be genuine because customers are not the fools many businesses would have you believe they are) then you have total clearance to resolve the problem calmly and satisfactorily.

    Remember that there is absolutely nothing wrong with saying to a customer "Oh my goodness, I'm so very sorry to hear that. That shouldn't have happened and I'll work to fix it right away!"

    Another valuable thing is to offer a discount or some kind of "freebie" (I know this isn't always possible in some companies but that is another topic --the lack of customer relations skills of the company as a whole). Nothing brings back a customer (and
    provides that all-valuable word of mouth) like a complimentary item or discount!

    One thing reps should remember, that is completely in their control is that many customers will specifically want to deal with you and only you if you have made them feel like "gold" (this is especially valuable if you're on a commission-basis pay of some kind or other).

    Reps don't realize that they can be as much of a customer draw to a store as any sale item. Conversely, a bad and percieved "nasty" rep (and it's all about perception, remember) will develop a reputation which will follow them where ever they go in their community, even to other jobs, and prevent people from entering the store as long as you are there. You think it doesn't happen? How many times have I heard friends tell me "see that guy, that's that a__hole who gave me the hard time at Canadian Tire".

    Anyway, these are things which your store (CTC specifically here) should be teaching reps. It is NOT the onus of the customer to create the proper retail mood or to "give respect". As my father used to say "repect has to be earned" and you'd be surprised what little it takes to earn that respect --that is the job of the service rep and the store. The customer may not always BE right, but it is your job to make them FEEL right. The service industry is a psychological one and this aspect of it is rarely and sadly missed in company indoctrination and orientation sessions. There is an aging computer tome which goes "garbage in, garbage out". Same goes for service reps. Give it (in what ever form you give it), and it will come right back in at you! David (Welland, ON)

    Agreed mostly. Only one question. Why would it be fair for the customers to get a discount/freebie when the employees barely get that? My discount doesn't even cover my tax. 10% discount, 13% tax.

  10. #10
    Posted by an unregistered user Angry CT Guy's Avatar
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    Re: What every (CT) rep should know...

    Sniff, sniff. You not getting enough? You want more freebies? Good luck with that!

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