Pool Noodle

Pool Noodle

I am currently in South Florida and it is the start of the Christmas holiday season. Kids are out of school and families are getting together in South Florida or just coming for a vacation in the sun.

We all know that the Christmas season is one of the busiest shopping times of the year. Often, retailers make their whole year’s profit in the last few weeks of the year. So it is key for them to have the right ‘merchandise’ in the stores.

I went looking for a noodle. If you don’t know what a noodle is, then look at the picture with this blog post. It is used in a swimming pool to help people float. Kids and adults alike love them.

It is almost impossible to find this item in local stores, such as grocery stores, dollar stores, pharmacies and department stores such as Target. I asked several sales clerks in the stores I visited and was told that they don’t stock them at this time of year. When I asked why, they said because their head office only sent Christmas items.

I persisted: “This is the time when families are coming to Florida for 2 weeks, during Christmas break. It doesn’t make sense not to carry items that would be needed at this time of the year.”  The sales clerk told me I was probably the 100th person to ask for this item in the past few days. He said that the ordering sheet from the store did NOT include the option to order swimming noodles, so the front line store manager had no option to satisfy his or her customers.

The front line people in the store know what your customers want. Do you ask them?  How can someone in the supply management chain of so many stores ignore the input of the local sales clerks and their managers?

If your organization does not have a feedback loop from the front line staff to those who make marketing, purchasing and support plans, then you are missing out valuable information needed to keep your customers satisfied and provide additional revenue as well.

Having the right product mix, at the right time for customers and their extended families is a key not only to customer satisfaction but customer loyalty as well.

P.S. I did find a noodle at a pool supply store!

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Adele Berenstein

Adele Berenstein is an Experienced Customer Satisfaction Executive, recently retired from a Large Global IT Organization after a long productive management career including Sales, Marketing, Services, teaching and education center management and most recently, 19 years in customer satisfaction management. She turned around divisions with customer satisfaction problems, implemented measurable improvements and management systems, and implemented programs to prevent problems from ever affecting customers.

2 Responses to “Warning: What your front line staff know and you don’t!”

  1. Barry Says:

    Read Epiphany by Bob Sproull. The book is full of vignettes about asking your front line people and getting the facts on the ground. Seems that getting the facts on the ground is still a movement or trend away from becoming a reality.

  2. Adele Berenstein Says:

    Thank you Barry for your excellent suggestion. I will put Epiphany on my list of books to read.

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