by David Ham | September 8, 2017
Selecting, training, and retaining talented people to fill in-home sales roles will go a long way toward determining the success of these programs.
There was a time when door-to-door salespeople were commonplace. Brands like Avon, Kirby Vacuums, and Encyclopedia Britannica were successful taking products directly to consumers and making a personal appeal. (One summer when I was in school I tried selling kitchen knives door-to-door. I wasn’t successful, but can honestly say the products were excellent; I still use the demo set, and am admittedly a knife snob.)
The boom in shopping centers and the increasingly busy schedules of American consumers eventually made it less likely someone would be home when salespeople would be going door-to-door. The internet then killed the print encyclopedia industry and helped usher in a self-serve society with seemingly less need for human interactions to conduct business.
I was therefore very interested when I saw the recent news that Best Buy and Amazon are pushing into the in-home sales market. In a recent blog, I talked about the important role that people play in enabling companies to provide a differentiated service in markets where competitive products and price are basically a given. Customer engagement with great people can be a way for service businesses such as banks, credit unions, mortgage lenders, or retailers to differentiate themselves against online competition.
Employee education and empowerment will be critical to the success of this emerging push toward in-home sales.
In the case of Best Buy and Amazon, both businesses recognize that technology purchases can be complicated for customers. A 60-inch television may not look very big in a large store, but it might be too large for your living room. Connected home technology sounds impressive to many consumers but can be complicated in practice. Having an expert come to the home and explain the best solution for a prospective customer can help ensure that the customer gets everything s/he needs, and possibly buy a few high margin accessories in the process.
Previous research published by CFI Group and Best Buy showed the importance of employees in driving the customer experience. Employee education and empowerment will be critical to the success of this emerging push toward in-home sales. Being able to explain products and services, and answer customer questions effectively, will be key to closing sales. The research also showed how the next touch point is always “make or break.” After an in-home sales experience, customer expectations have been set, and the delivery and installation personnel will need to meet those expectations.
It is also worth mentioning that there could be a side benefit from a customer satisfaction, loyalty, and retention standpoint. Smaller organizations often have higher customer satisfaction than larger organizations. It is easier for a smaller business to build relationships and provide targeted solutions for customers. This type of in-home sales effort can help a large business like Best Buy or Amazon to “feel” smaller and build personalized solutions, while quite possibly increasing sales.
Selecting, training, and retaining talented people to fill these in-home sales roles will go a long way toward determining the success of these programs. Arming them with the right tools to communicate specific customer needs to installation professionals with also be important.
CFI Group has extensive experience measuring employee engagement of both sales associates and in-home service providers, helping to ensure that they are confident in the training and have tools they need to be successful. And where they are not confident, CFI Group helps you develop solutions that allow employees to provide a differentiated customer experience.