Condescension…One of the 7 Deadly Sins of Customer Service

Today’s ‘Word to the RetailWise’ is: Beware of the condescending Sales Associate – one of the 7 Deadly Sins of Customer Service.

Recently, a colleague of mine – who happens to be very much a ‘techie’ – went shopping for a new laptop. He had checked around and found the store with the best price for the one he wanted. All the Store Associate had to do to get the sale was be pleasant, answer a couple of questions and it was done.

During the conversation it became clear that my colleague undoubtedly knew more than the Sales Associate did. And he’s used to that because he is very up to date on everything to do with computers, etc. – definitely above average in that area. The Sales Associate should have recognized that fact and adjusted his approach accordingly.

Anyway, my colleague was going t o the cash desk to pay for his new laptop and the Sales Associate accompanied him and they chatted about a service agreement that could be purchased with the laptop. My colleague knew all about the service agreement and politely declined.

The Associate would not give in. He pushed and pushed. He made it sound like my colleague’s entire life was going to be ruined if he didn’t buy this service agreement.

Now, at first, you might think “good for him, he’s really trying to sell the high margin service agreement” and, sometimes, we would agree with you. However, this situation went way off track when the Sales Associate started getting ugly. He simply did not want to take no for an answer.

Just a note here…my colleague has purchased many electronic items over the years and is very familiar with the service agreement add-ons. In fact, he was the National Sales Manager for a chain of electronics stores for a very well known brand. He had plenty of experience with service agreements and, in this case, had already made a well informed decision not to purchase it.

Back to the story…After the purchase was completed, the Sales Associate – who had taken on a decidedly unfriendly attitude – smirked and waved good-bye. And he said “good luck with that.” And, yes, he did mean it in an entirely sarcastic way.

He was basically saying that my colleague would have problems with the new laptop and he would be very sorry he didn’t buy the service agreement.

Well, whatever happened to …Let the Buyer Beware? My colleague was prepared to live with the outcome.

What a great experience. After spending several hundred dollars, he had to endure one of the Seven Deadly Sins of Customer Service: Condescension…from a Sales Associate who didn’t know enough about the profession we call sales, or the proper behavior we call courtesy.

All the Success!
DMSRetail Inc.

PS: If you haven’t already, check out the Retail Selling Skills & Customer Service Fundamentals YourTime Study Course. It’s here:


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