All the customers’ complaints regarding the quality of service that is offered by sales staff should be taken very seriously. Firms need channels through which customers can send their complaints regarding the quality of service that is offered to them by their sales staff. Customers’ feedback regarding the way their transactions are handled within a firm should be treated with the magnitude it deserves by the management. In the case highlighted, the senior sales employees do not handle customer issues seriously.
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This has made the customer feel unwanted and unappreciated by the sales person, which portrays a bad image of the firm (Fairweather 2010, p. 83). The sales representative has become more aggressive and his attitude is inappropriate when conducting business with the customer. His behaviour is a threat to the relationship the customer has with the organization.
As a senior manager, I would first call the sales representative to make him aware of the complaints the customer has brought forth regarding his attitude. I would listen to his reasons regarding the rude and aggressive behaviour towards the customer. Aggression is a sign of emotional stress and it is important to help an affected employee to overcome the stress that he faces. If the employee is experiencing a problem at home, he can be offered a leave of absence to enable him to rest (Fairweather 2010, p. 84).
This gives him the chance to reflect on how to redeem the negative change in behaviour he has been having. The discussion should not confront or accuse the employee of his shortcomings. It should explore ways through which the employee can improve his commitment and behaviour when transacting business with the customers.
The senior sales person should then be made to undergo a thorough examination process through which he can testify to the firm that his behaviour has improved. This should be done when the employee does not have any duty to perform to ensure that he is receptive to the ideas and solutions proposed. The employee should be made to understand the negative consequences of his actions and why it is important that he improves his conduct.
If possible, the employee needs to apologize in person to the offended customer to ease the tension between the two parties (Oade 2010, p. 96). This is vital in securing the loyalty of the customer to the firm because he will see the firm cares about him. The sales representative needs to get a warning regarding his behaviour and should be aware of the consequences he is likely to face as a result of any future complaints.
The firm should change its policy to encourage feedback from its employees and clients regarding how business operations are carried out by its staff. This is vital in tracking the performance of employees within the company in the way they interact with customers. Customers should also be encouraged to raise their complaints about the quality of services that are offered by the staff of the organization.
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For example, a taxi driver working in a London firm was experiencing a messy divorce that negatively affected his attitude and behaviour. He was offered counselling at the expense of the company and this helped him to overcome the difficulties that he was experiencing (Ong 2010, p.71). The sales representative in question also needs to be taken through a plan that will monitor his performance and discipline at work. This plan should outline all the steps the firm has undertaken to correct the disciplinary issues the employee has had in the organization.
Customer Relationships Through the Internet
The internet offers valuable ways through which a firm can keep in contact with its customers. The internet makes a customer aware of the activities a firm undertakes, which stimulates interest in the mind of a prospective customer. Berndt and Brink (2004, p.106) reveal that the internet enables a firm to communicate with its customers regarding the products and services it offers within a specific market. The internet helps a client to explore the product categories that are offered by a firm and their unique attributes. The customer makes a choice to purchase a product based on the needs and expectations he seeks to satisfy.
The internet enables a firm to create strong mutual relationships with its customers. A firm can benefit from brand loyalty from its clients because of the value they attach to the products offered to them by the firm. Such customers can buy their preferred brands without being restricted by the high prices of some of the commodities owing to the loyalty and value they attach to them. Online communities for customers that are attached to strong brands ensure that a company sustains the relationships it has with its clients (Sharmah 2002, pp. 78-79).
Every firm that wants to be successful should come up with ways to make the relationship with its clients more meaningful. For example, I-phone customers have a strong attachment to the Apple gadget. This has generated a strong brand loyalty for the smart-phone in the market giving it a competitive edge over other devices produced by Apple’s competitors. Apple has consistently delivered on its promises enabling it to earn the trust of its customers.
The internet does not guarantee the personal touch that is vital for sustaining strong and mutual customer relationships. The customer does not have face to face interaction with the sales workers of a firm and this makes it difficult to sustain a long-term mutual relationship between the two parties. The level of satisfaction the customer gets is diminished when he or she transacts online. The high level of insecurity on the internet makes it difficult to verify if a business transaction is genuine or fake (Wilson & Abel 2002, p. 86).
There has been a surge in the level of fraud targeted at online payment systems; this has made some customers afraid of transacting online. The procedure that is followed before a product is delivered to a customer is also lengthy. This has a negative consequence on the online relationship a customer establishes with a particular firm.
The internet rarely offers customers the chance to experience a demonstration on how a product works. Clients who want a firsthand experience on how a product functions are likely to lose interest in the brand and this weakens customer-company relationships. Wilson and Abel (2002, p. 88) reveal that it is difficult to evaluate the relationship a company has with its clients through the internet. Some clients may explore a product online but may not be motivated enough to take an extra step to understand how it can be of benefit to their needs.
Some people with strong attachment to some brands spend less time online and a firm loses out if it does not sustain strong connections with them through other alternative channels. The internet has grown but still has a lot of defects that make it unsuitable for sustaining long-term customer relationships. The high increase in the incidents of credit card fraud in many parts of the world has significantly discouraged the growth of electronic commerce.
Sales ethics are the virtues that sales people should uphold when carrying out their responsibilities. These are codes of conduct that sales professionals must abide by to ensure that they are fair and diligent to the customers they transact business with. Sales professionals must comply with the codes of conduct established to ensure that the transactions they carry out with their clients are transparent (Cant & Heerden 2005, p. 65). All the activities that are undertaken during sales must conform to the standards that are stipulated within the code of conduct. Sales professionals need to ensure that the pricing, functions and the guarantees that accompany a product are true. The actions of sales professionals have an impact on the expenditure patterns of the company’s consumers.
Cant and Heerden (2005, p. 72) emphasize that sales ethics protect consumers from making wrong decisions based on misleading information provided by sales people. Sales ethics has become a prominent subject because of the increase in consumption of defective products by consumers as a result of being given misleading information. Some sales people do not explain to a potential consumer all the issues that are involved before they purchase a product or a service. The sales professionals’ promises are not fulfilled when the consumers discover the product is of an inferior quality than they had been made to believe. Sales ethics provide professional standards, which all sales people should fulfil as part of the several obligations they have to their customers.
Sales ethics help a salesperson to understand if he is serving the interests of his customers and employer properly. Sales persons who have high integrity standards create a high level of trust in the clients, which fosters strong consumer relationships. A trustworthy sales person makes the customer loyal to the product and this sustains the brand appeal of a specific product within the market (Thomas 2008, p. 57).
The performance of a product within the market a company targets is improved because of the emotional connection it has with its loyal customers. The sales person needs to do more to fulfil a client’s needs and expectations regarding the usefulness of the purchased product. A satisfied customer is likely to return to make another purchase in future because of the positive service he gets after transacting with the sales person.
Sales ethics instil into sales people the ability to value the relationship that exists between them and their clients. A sales person needs to be committed to his clients to make them aware of the positive results they can get as a result of using the product he sells to them. The information offered should not be misleading or exaggerated. The client should be left to decide if the information provided is appealing enough to suit his expectations and the needs he wants the product to fulfil. Sales ethics provide sales people with effective strategies to make them discharge their duties as expected (Thomas 2008, p. 64). This reduces irresponsible manipulation of clients by sales people during a transaction.
Berndt, A & Brink, A 2004, Customer relationship management and customer service, Juta and Company Ltd, Lansdowne.
Cant, MC& Van Heerden, CH 2005, Personal selling, Juta and Company Ltd, Lansdowne.
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Fairweather, A 2010, How to manage difficult people: proven strategies for dealing with challenging people at work, How To Books, New York.
Oade, A 2010, Working in adversarial relationships: operating effectively in relationships characterized by little trust or support, Palgrave Macmillan, London.
Ong, TW 2010, Results management: effective people management to achieve effective results, Wiley, New York.
Thomas, WM 2008, The sales manager’s success manual, Amacom, New York.
Sharmah, A. 2002, ‘Trends in internet –based business to business marketing’, Industrial Marketing Management, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 77-84.
Wilson, SG & Abel, I 2002, ‘So you want to get involved in e-commerce?’, Industrial Marketing Management, vol. 31, no. 2, pp. 85-94.