Is your staff impatient with newbies?

geekwear.jpgIt’s the time of year when newbies are in the stores. There are no more VCRs to flash 00:00:00, but there are still plenty of things that Joe Consumer might not be up to date on.

The natural result, especially among your younger, tech-savvy staff, is to be kinda impatient. It’s part of being young. They might also tend to spout jargon and “geek speak” and a bunch of TLAs that only their enthusiast friends understand.

TLAs = three letter acronyms (yes, I was making an example of myself…)

So whatever you do, don’t let your staff be like this guy:

A couple things to remember about the newbies:

  • They are there to buy. They simply want to get something nice for a family member or friend so they will be appreciated, and maybe even perceived as cool (or wack, or bad or rad or whatever today’s term is). It’s Christmas. It’s buy-before-the-end-of-the-tax-year. And so on. Wallets are nicely lubricated and ready to open and toss money out at you.
  • Newbies who are handled gently when in unfamiliar territory tend to become loyal customers who trust you. Can’t ask for much more than that. Taking advantage of them or treating them like dopes is a bad idea. I know of a fairly-well-off family who sent their 17 year old to a Chevy dealer to look at new pickups. They wanted to see how he would be treated. Needless to say, the dealership’s salesperson didn’t give the kid the time of day. When the parents came back, they made sure the dealership knew what happened, then they left and bought the kid a new truck across town.
  • Newbies often have no idea what the common mistakes are that could ruin their purchase. Do you have a “care and feeding guide” for your products? Can I store coffee beans in the freezer? What about ground coffee? Should I check the oil in my new SnowCat2000? What happens if I pour water on my keyboard to wash the dust off? Yeah, obvious questions, but when you’re a newbie, the obvious sometimes isn’t. Saving them expense and embarrassment is huge to them, and will be remembered.
  • Don’t treat em like they’re stupid. They probably know a lot more than you, just about different things. Ask them about the gestation cycle of the Nepalese Blue Goat, or the number of ohms of electrical resistance across the surface of your skin, and they’ll toss out an answer to 17 decimal places. BUT, that doesn’t mean they know diddly squat about how to refill the spool of cord in that 200 horsepower diesel V8 weed whacker you just sold them.

Spend time with your staff (regularly) relating the value of patience, of talking in the terms their clients would use rather than in acronyms and buzzwords, and remind them to explain why someone would want feature a vs feature b and what the heck those things mean in the first place, much less why you’d care.

5 replies on “Is your staff impatient with newbies?”

  1. Hi Mark;

    This is a great example and an important point.

    There’s a great saying that goes:

    How you do anything, is how you do everything.

    What so many business owners don’t understand is that how they treat people outside of their normal “work” space is directly correlated to how they treat their staff, customers and prospects.

    Thanks for a great post. I only wish the guy in the video had a logo wrap on his car… Or better yet, on the airbag!

    Paul Keetch

    P.S. I’ve linked to this post from my own post on this subject, which you can find here:

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