Are you letting sales walk out your door?

I've had an experience yesterday that illustrated how indifference and apathy towards customers can cause sales to walk out your door. If your company is doing awesome, then stop reading. Otherwise...

Three May be a Crowd
I think there were a total of three customers in Office Depot last night when I walked in to load up on a few supplies and buy a computer monitor. By my count, there were a total of four employees on the sales floor, but all seemed engrossed in some form of task. No one looked up to welcome me as I walked in.

I picked out some paper and then walked over to the aisle with the monitors. "Ahh, now they'll come greet me," I thought as I wandered into the "bigger ticket" section of the store. Um, not really. Just me, left alone to browse.

After some investigation, I found the monitor I was looking for and took the inventory ticket to the register. The cashier, Manny, looked up the product and told me they were out of it. Manny also said the other Office Depot stores in the area were out of the monitor too, but they might get some in on Friday.

Choose Your Own Adventure
Here is the part of the story where I invite you to guess what happens next.

  1. Did Manny suggest I "check back" on Friday to see if they have the monitor I'm looking for? OR
  2. Did Manny offer to take down my number and call me when the monitor I wanted was in. OR
  3. Did Manny offer to have someone help me find a suitable alternative from among the many monitors that were in stock?

Manny chose option 1, which is interesting employee behavior since Office Depot posted a loss and a year over year decline in revenue in their latest quarterly report. Office Depot's stock is at $3.43 per share as I write this. Maybe Manny isn't fully invested.

If Office Depot could sell the equivalent of just one additional $250 monitor per store, per day, they would have over $150,000,000 in extra revenue in one year's time. Or, we could all go give our business to Staples, Best Buy, Fry's, CDW, or any number of other places that sell the same or similar products.