Broken Bay Writers – Stories of NSW Central Coast and beyond

Scribbles on life, the universe and everything… Woy Woy, Ettalong, Umina and teh Central Coast that is!

Category Archives: Customer Service

Are You Listening?

I am always looking for ways to learn and improve myself. One area I know I need to work on is listening skills or lack thereof. I can see the heads nodding of just about every family member and friend I have. Yes, I admit it; I am not the best listener in the world. I can hear my daughter who has told me a million (or at least a hundred) times that it’s my ADD. And, I don’t think she means that as a plus!

I try hard to listen, but it seems my mind is going 300 miles an hr, which means I am never really 100% focused on what the other person is saying. I work on it through Toastmasters, reading and being aware of (and admitting to) my shortcomings.

So, it is a breath of fresh air, when I have the opportunity to watch someone who has mastered listening skills. Yesterday, I attended a meeting with my new boss. Because it is only my second week on the job, it is the first real meeting I have been involved in that included a potential investor/member.

This meeting is where it all happened. Where I was blown away by the high level of listening skills Mr. Boss has. He was genuinely interested in every word Mr. Potential was saying. Not that I am not genuinely interested in what people say to me, it is just hard to concentrate sometimes. The difference with Mr. Boss is that he was living “in the moment”. It was amazing to watch Mr. Potential respond to an active, sincere listener who asked the right questions at the right time and listened with interest and integrity to each answer as it was given.

Was I sincerely listening during this conversation? No, I was observing and trying to figure out how I could learn how to become a genuine active listener. I can hear you now, “first learn to listen”, which is what I wasn’t doing! “Learn to be in the moment”, well I was kind of doing that, wasn’t I?

The upside of all of this is that I will learn because I am now working for the best company in the world that offers me the opportunity to learn and grow every day!
How cool is that?

I strive to learn this skill, not just to be a better listener, but because I know how it feels when Mr. Boss is actively listening to me. It makes me feel special (in a good way) and I want to pass that feeling on to others. I want “living in the moment” to be something that comes naturally, not a struggle to achieve.

So, this is my challenge to myself, I am going to learn to actively listen with sincerity. Imagine the possibilities!

Focus, focus focus, I can hear Al laughing now!

Competition is knocking at your door Australia!

In the news today, Australia’s big retailers are calling for GST to be charged to online shoppers.Their reason is to create a “level playing field”. But, GST will not create a level playing field. When you can buy an item online for $300 instead of paying $800 in an Australian store, GST is off no consequence. I did just that last year when buying a watch for Christmas.

As a savy shopper, I researched before purchasing. I was mildly surprised to find the watch price range from $600 – $800 in retail outlets around Sydney. It didn’t seem to matter whether it was a big retailer or small, and none of these prices were a “sale price”. In fact I found the watch at a lower regular price in a jewellery store, than on sale at Myers! There is no excuse for such an excessive difference in price, someone is gouging!

What drove me to shop online? Not just the gouging, but the attitude of the retailers! I would ask if the watch was coming on sale and get rude comments back such as “these watches never go on sale”, only to find the watch on sale at the same retailer just days later!
Several times I walked out of a store because I couldn’t find anyone willing to help me!

Disturbed with the lack of customer service, but not to be dissuaded, I decided to research the watch online. I was not just pleasantly surprised, but shocked at the price difference. At $300, I was sold! I already have a paypal account, so it took me minutes to purchase the watch through ebay. It arrived at my doorstep within 3 days, well packaged and intact!

Welcome to the world of competition Australia.

My suggestion to the retailers of Australia, online shopping is a trend that cannot be bucked. It is here to stay. Either jump on the bandwagon and become an online presence or get left behind. Shopping online has hit Australia. It is only good business sense to listen to what your customers are asking for, they want online shopping and if they are visiting your store, they want the experience to be pleasant. That means increasing your level of customer service.

Competition is knocking at your door Australia, not just online shopping, but also large well known retailers are moving into Oz, such as Gap and they bring a superior level of customer service with them. It is time for Australian retailers to step up and compete or watch your sales plummet as these “foreign” retailers take hold of the market by offering a pleasant shopping experience. Good customer service is not difficult, just be authentic, know your product and show you care. The attitude of “that’s not my department” just doesn’t cut it anymore.

For whatever reason, retailers seem to have forgotten that it’s not all about you, it’s about what your customers want. The sooner you acknowledge and move towards filling their needs, the faster you will move forward!
It’s a sign of the times!