Putting your customers on a sofa


Have you seen Mary Portas on the TV, in her Secret Shopper programme? Recently she spent some time with a sofa shop, working with salesmen who claimed to put their customers first.

She found some interesting things. Firstly, when you go into one of their stores, you’re greeted by a salesman who talks at you for a couple of minutes. Then the main focus is on how much they can persuade you to buy – because they work on commission. Does that sound to you like putting the customer first?

Mary gave them the challenge of finding out what some customers wanted and then choosing the perfect sofa for them. They got it so wrong! The colour they chose for one couple was a colour they didn’t even like; another couple were presented with sofa that took up nearly the whole room. The salesmen never actually asked the simple questions of ‘what colours do you like?’ and ‘how big is your room?’

The good news is that once they’d done some work with Mary, they learnt about asking important questions of their customers and listening to the answers – instead of just talking. They set up a service within the store where customers could mock up their room with different sofas – so they could pick the best colour and work out if they had enough room for it!

Not sure what your customers really want? Find a comfy sofa, buy them a cup of coffee and just ask them!


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