Lessons to be learnt by Retailers in India
It is often said "Consumer is king" but have you ever felt like you are the king after buying a product? In most cases, No, you wouldn’t have felt that way. Once the purchase is complete, retailers/sellers try to shy away from complaints as much as they can. You will hear a million reasons as to why they cannot address your concern and you will start regretting buying the product from that seller/retailer. Many a time, you might have also seen a notice in a shop or at the bottom of a bill saying ‘Goods Once Sold Cannot be taken back or exchanged’. Just because it is printed on a bill or on display in a showroom, does not make it legal. Such a condition cannot be imposed on consumers, and shopkeepers can be penalized for printing the phrase on the bill or if it is kept on display. Have you bought a shirt that needs to be exchanged? But the shopkeeper is unwilling as it is against their policy? You can file a complaint with your respective state consumer helpline. Various consumer forums have upheld the same on multiple occasions and have penalized retailers and shopkeepers.
But recently, I found a store that really makes you feel that ‘Consumer is actually the king’. I am going to write about two experiences of mine.
First, I had gone to Decathlon, Chennai (En route Banglore) to buy a backpack. The training staff are very well trained and equipped to answer most of your questions. On billing the backpack, I was clearly informed that I was eligible to return the product for up to three months. Not very often do you hear the staff talking to you about the return policy at the time of purchase. They kept me aware of my rights as a consumer which was really enriching!
Second experience, I bought a few products from Decathlon, Chennai (Padur) sometime back and in one of the coolers I had bought, the lens was loose thereby falling out. On getting some free time and going back to the outlet after 3 weeks or so, for the first time, I felt welcomed for when I had to return a product. Firstly, they did not ask me if I had the bill for the purchase! All the purchases of mine are tagged to my mobile number and stored in their system. Second, they were polite and welcoming even for an exchange or return. I exchanged the coolers and while billing the new one on return, I was clearly explained that I did not have to buy the exact same product and I could buy anything of my choice. I really felt that Decthlon made me feel like a king (Consumer is King)! To beat that all, on enquiring a little more on their return policy, I was told that the product could be returned for upto two years if defective in nature.
• Build a relationship - Do not look at a consumer as a liability after the purchase. Look to serve and make a consumer be happy rather than looking them as trouble after the purchase. Look to build a relationship with the consumer rather than making it a one-time purchase.
• Train your staff well - Train your sales team effectively so that they know about a particular set of products. Make them well aware of the trends in the market as well as the competitors. This could enable your sales team in assisting you in buying the right product for the consumer.
• Assist the Consumer rightly - Do not make your sales team push a product to a customer based on the price, rather make your sales team understand the needs of the customer and suggest suitable products. This will make a customer trust your brand more.
• Become Customer centric - Move along with the technological change and update your billing software. Making a provision of saving the bills of consumers on the basis of their mobile number makes physical bill redundant. This helps in gaining the confidence of customers that your brand will not take the customers for a ride and is a customer centric organization/brand.
• Make a consumer aware of his rights – Give more information to the customer about the service, warranty, guarantee of the product and how to go about claiming it. This gives clarity to the customers.
• Be truthful – Teach your team that there is no wrong in saying “I don’t know”. Rather them saying “I don’t know” than giving information to a customer that they’re unsure off. This is very important as this will make or break a consumer’s trust to your brand.
Finally, Don’t ever forget to get your team smiling. Smiling with the right attitude gets half the job done. A happy consumer is your brand ambassador. Imagine what you could accomplish if every consumer became your brand ambassador.