Reducing headcount and the downward spiral

What makes a successful car sales team? I’m sure there are many different opinions and theories based on different experiences over time; however the one thing that I think everybody would agree with is people.

The right kind of people will promote the business and attract more customers while the wrong ones can be total blockers (or a “sales prevention” team).
But it no harder than ever to get this important aspect of a “customer facing” business right as we are all so sensitive today about how we are valued as customers.

For example I recently decided, after a visit to the cinema with my wife and daughters, to visit a little pub restaurant which is part of a local chain. I won’t mention their name because I honestly don’t believe the experience we encountered is indicative of the service that is generally on offer there. Anyway it was just after 6:30 in the evening and I thought it would be relatively peaceful, so we walked into the restaurant and were confronted by a sign which said “wait here to be seated”. Unfortunately that sort of thing gets my back up straight away but the kids were hungry, I liked the look of the menu and they did my favourite pint on draft so I bit my lip and waited…and waited and waited.

During this time there was a young guy sitting a few feet from us clearly adding up some numbers or looking at some bookings who hadn’t so far even acknowledged us. I asked if he could get us a table to which he replied, without looking up, that someone would be over “shortly”.

At this point I’m afraid I’d had enough, told him to stick it where the sun doesn’t shine and walked off with my embarrassed wife and kids trailing in my wake.

A little over the top maybe but coming from the car trade, where customer service is absolutely paramount despite all the bad press we receive, I’m afraid my senses have become heightened to the slightest suggestion of poor service. But that’s when I thought are we now expecting too much?

With businesses under pressure to cut costs and trade lean the first thing they do is cut staff numbers which leads to less people doing more work and the customer service end suffering as a result, in my opinion it’s a false economy.

The businesses that are struggling financially also have to work doubly hard to maintain decent customer service with a reduced workforce that inevitably leads to disgruntled customers and a reduction in trade.

You can see where I’m going with this downward spiral theme?

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