Canadian Electrical Wholesaler

 

July 30, 2018

Jeff MowattBy Jeff Mowatt

You know the scenario… your workday is running smoothly and manageably when suddenly you find yourself dealing with one customer in front of you, another on the phone, while a third arrives with just a quick question. When organizations bring me to conduct customer service seminars, I find this is one of the most frequent challenges frontline employees ask me to address. While there are no absolute rules for juggling customers (you need to adapt to your workplace’s business realities), here are five tips that we find work well for our clients in reducing stress and boosting customer loyalty

1. Remember, this is good

Having lots of customers wanting to do business with you is wonderful. It means you and your organization are in demand. The obvious solution to juggling multiple customers is just to hire more people. Of course that’s oversimplified, and may make no economic sense, especially when there may be only one or two rush periods during the day or week. When you see more customers arrive, don’t let them see you sweat. Take the professional approach and broaden your smile, even though it may be slightly forced. Keep in mind the adage of L.L. Bean who said, “Customers are not interruptions to your work, they are the purpose of your work.

2. Don’t make things worse

One of the most frequent gaffs in frontline service is when a customer needs to ask a question but the employees are preoccupied — talking with each other. Even more aggravating is when the staff congregate to socialize while customers are left to fend for themselves. The place for employees to chat and hold meetings is in the staff area, not in front of customers. When you’re on the floor, make yourself visible and available to customers. Of course, that also means not interrupting your co-workers who are talking to customers. If you need to talk to a coworker who’s taking care of a customer, give your colleague a quick nod, then let him/her come to you when they’ve finished with the customer. If you absolutely must interrupt, then excuse yourself and apologize to the customer for the interruption, and as you leave thank the customer for their patience.

3. Walk-ins take priority over phone-ins

If you already have a visitor in front of you when the phone rings, the visitor gets priority. The visitor took the time/spent the gas money to arrive in person. Unless you have callers with genuine emergencies, don’t interrupt a visitor to pick up the phone. That’s what voice mail is for. If you must take the phone call, ask the visitor’s permission, explain that you want to focus on them, so you’ll quickly take a message and get back to your conversation. Then tell the caller that you are with another customer but will look into their request and call them back. That way, even if the caller insists on immediate service, the visitor sees that you are at least trying to make them the priority

4. Acknowledge walk-ins right away

If you are on the phone or face-to-face with a customer when a visitor walks in, acknowledge the visitor immediately with eye contact, a smile and a quick, “I’ll be with you in just a few minutes (or however long it will be).” By acknowledging the visitor, you are conveying that you are aware of them and that you are working quickly. And it tells the person in front of you that you have other people waiting. Usually, they’ll get the hint that you need to wrap up.

A common challenge is how to politely interrupt a phone caller to acknowledge a walk-in visitor. Here’s a quick tip: say the person’s name. “John, excuse me. I just had someone walk into my office, may I put you on hold for a moment? Thanks.” Beginning with the person’s name gets their attention immediately without being rude.

For new arrivals who have just a quick question If it is indeed quick, that’s great; give them the 10 seconds they need and then get back to your first person. If it’s going to take more than 10 seconds then tell the person, “That’s going to take a few minutes to go over, so I’ll finish taking care of this person, which will take me about x minutes, then I’ll be happy to help you. Meanwhile, if you’d like to sit, grab a coffee… Thanks.

5. Address chronic staffing/line management issues

In #1 I pointed out that hiring more staff may not make economic sense. However, when customers constantly get the impression the organization is disorganized, understaffed or uncaring about customers’ time, that’s a problem that requires more than just having staff work faster. Managers need to either hire more staff, consider moving phone calls to a call centre, or implement line management practices. Speaking of which, you’ll find tips on handling waiting lines by clicking on my related article, “Yes, I Mind Waiting”. Meanwhile, be thankful that business is so good. Here’s hoping that this helps makes managing multiple customers less frustrating for everyone concerned.

This article is based on the bestselling book, Influence with Ease by Hall of Fame motivational speaker Jeff Mowatt. To obtain your own copy of his book or to inquire about engaging Jeff for your team, visit www.jeffmowatt.com. Watch for more articles from Jeff in future issues.

 

 

Carol McGloganBy Carol McGlogan

We are on the cusp of a major tidal wave hitting our industry; the onslaught of 10,000 new employees are set to replace the current base who are over 55 years of age and are on the horizon of retirement. This talent refresh brings on many opportunities for progress to address evolving customer needs, new product solutions and supply chain digitization. New skills and new ways of thinking will propel us forward. However, the challenge this talent pool will have is to understand the industry that they have settled in. This challenge is further magnified as the time required to absorb industry knowledge is compressed due to the accelerated exit of industry knowledge.

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Swati Vora-PatelBy Swati Vora-Patel

The Electrical industry is facing a runway of crossroads — and digital innovation intersects each one of the crossroads. Digital advancements in technology are transforming everything from product development and manufacturing to supply chain management and customer purchasing behaviours. While all of these changes have digitization at the core, there’s another factor that our industry needs to bring front and centre: People.

 

 

 

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Value of Building Permits - DecemberThe total value of building permits issued by Canadian municipalities increased 7.4% to $8.7 billion in December. Increases were reported in five provinces, led by Ontario (+10.5% to $3.4 billion) and Quebec (+15.8% to $2.2 billion). For 2019 overall, municipalities issued $102.4 billion worth of permits, up 2.6% compared with 2018.

Value of residential permits up

The total value of permits for multi-family dwellings was up 15.9% to $2.9 billion in December, mostly due to large projects in the census metropolitan areas (CMAs) of Montreal and Vancouver.

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Changing Scene

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The IDEA Team is working to ensure a smooth launch. If you are a distributor customer, you’ll receive communications on your cutover date and what you’ll need to do to prepare.

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SouthwireSouthwire has appointed Rahila Dhansi to the position of Manager, Human Resources. In her role, Rahila will be responsible for overseeing Southwire Canada’s HR plans in ways that support our mission and strategy.

Rahila holds a Bachelor’s degree in Employment and Industrial Relations from the University of Toronto and is a Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) under the Human Resources Association.

 

 

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Graybar TaylorGraybar Canada announced the retirement of Executive Vice President and General Manager, Brian Thomas, effective March 1, 2020. Upon his retirement, Jason Taylor will be appointed Executive Vice President and General Manager, assuming leadership of Graybar Canada.

Thomas started his career with Graybar Canada, and its predecessor Harris & Roome Supply, in 1987. Throughout his 39-year career in the electrical industry, Thomas held a variety of sales and senior management positions before being promoted to Executive Vice President and General Manager in 2016. 

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Peers & Profiles

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Sean Bernard is the Intelligent Controls Manager, Canada for Ideal Industries. Sean resides in ...
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Sean BernardBy Blake Marchand

Sean Bernard is the Intelligent Controls Manager, Canada for Ideal Industries. Sean resides in Whitby with his wife, Melissa and their daughter, Everleigh.

Sean joined Ideal Industries mid-2019 after 13-years in lighting, working for companies like Phillips, Franklin Empire, and Standard Products. Throughout that time, he made his way from inside sales, to outside sales and up into management.

 

 

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