Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Don't just hire them, brand them.

There is so much that we do not know about how to raise our little one properly. What we are constantly looking out for is good advice and guidance. We all know that good playing aids will help and places like ELC (Early Learning Centre) should be able to assist. Well, suffice to say, their retail outlets are definitely loaded with lots of aids but what is seriously lacking is good advice.

We walked into an ELC outlet last weekend, looking for a good ABC learning book for Ryan. The outlet was manned by a lone staff who really looked like she rather be elsewhere. Not only were we not greeted with a nice `Good morning’, she was not even smiling! We spent a good 10 minutes in the shop browsing, looking for what we `want’ (although we do not have the faintest idea being new parents) and no one approach us to advise. In fact, there were 3 other pretty ladies whom I believed are shopping for some gifts for their friend who has just delivered and all of us walked out of the shop empty handed without buying a single item. And the staff could care less!

What make a great shopping experience for any customer is the service, personal attention and sound advice given by the outlet staff. Far too often, many organizations have forgotten to invest in training their staff and proceed to carefully brand them besides giving them their uniforms. Give them an identity and carefully cultivate a corporate personality that is unique to the organization. Be different. Go the extra mile.

When we walked into a baby outlet for example, what we need is a passionate person who would enjoy sharing with us what our 4.5 months old needs and how their respective products will help him. What ELC probably would need is not a staff manning the cash register. What ELC should probably have are trained and knowledgeable staff in children’s early development. (that is what they are branding themselves anyway).

Needless to say, we could not find anything interesting in ELC but we spent RM70 buying a ABC learning aid from another outlet just because the staff talked to us, found out what we were looking for and showed us options that could interest us. We could have easily spent the RM70 at ELC but I guess they can survive without our small transaction.

If you are just going to hire them and not train and brand them, you might as well fire them.


Angeline said...

here's the 'X-Ray' behind those staff sullen faces - they are not well paid, they really are not.... yet there are high expectations of them....*sigh*

Mummy In Vain said...

nowadays, workers are like 'king' and 'queen'! Employer instead have to look at their face!

Daddy said...

Morning Angeline. Thanks for dropping the comment. Agreed that many of them are not well paid. It's very much the employer at fault I would say. That's why organization should not just hire the staff and then not investing to train and brand them. Employers must set the expectation right and fast. As far as the consumers are concerned, the front line staff IS the company. I am not going to remember the face of moody cashier but I will remember the outlet for a very long time.

Daddy said...

Hi Mummy. With the current economic situation and turmoil, it serves well that every employee must take note to prepare for tough times ahead. I guess that it will be a matter of time before these `Kings' and `Queens' start to realise that they will be the first to be `sacrificed' as the bottomline falls. One has to go through an economic turmoil and crises like that in 1986 and 1997 to fully appreciate what we have right now.

Mummy Moon said...

I also met this kind of staff before or even worst in their attitude serving customers. You know what I did to them? I read their name in their tag and leave the place, then I called up to the head office to make a complaint !

agnes said...

I used to ELC at pyramid (relatively smaller) as well as The Garden (bigger) and found out that staff at The Garden are more friendly and helpful. ;)

Used to spend quite a lot there last time due to the product quality and I did self-entertain most of the time.

I've stopped spending there since Chloe doesn't seem to enjoy those expensive wooden toys from ELC..

No doubt the quality is good and at least Chloe is still playing in the big pirated pool (ball/swimming pool) + balls I bought.. ;)

Have a nice day ahead..

Daddy said...

Wow.Mommy Moon terror ya! But I guess they needed to be taught a lesson. However, sometimes I think the management is as much to be blamed because a corporate culture be it good or bad flows downwards and never never upwards.

Daddy said...

Hi Agnes. I guess is because the Garden outlet could be newer. But therein lies the question, why is there no consistency in the level of service within the same group? Considering that ELC sells premium children products, I would be expecting some of minimal consistent service regardless of the outlet. Given, some outlets will out perform others due to staff individual personality but a minimal standard should have been established. But like you said, they do carry good quality product.

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