Why After Sales is as important as the Sale…
The weekend just gone I was travelling home from Stansted airport, in Essex. Stansted is probably around 1 hour max away from the Olympic village and will be a very busy airport during the biggest sporting event to hit UK soils since the 1966 Football World Cup. I was travelling back to Ireland, where I live, after a lovely weekend, where I was the best man at my best mate’s wedding. It had been a busy day, where I had metaphorically hopped, skipped and jumped from place to place, and Stansted was the last part of my journey. I am originally from a little market town that in based about 45 minutes from Stansted, so I am very proud of the Olympics being from close to where I was born.
Departures was remarkably quiet for a Sunday afternoon, and we had been rushing from A-B , so it was good to get to Departures in good spirits, having had a lovely time in England for the weekend.
“That bag is no good” the lady working at Departures shouted. She pointed at my clear plastic bag. “Oh no, it is a clear bag” I confirmed, surprised at her tone. “That bag is no good, it’s ‘too big’ a clear plastic bag”. She pointed at her example bag, which I would guess was about 2cm smaller in width and length. Her tone was not friendly to say the least. As I gathered my thoughts, she spoke to the next couple in the queue – I am guessing in Italian. “That bag is too big” she ordered, her tone was again, at best sterile on any emotion. The poor Italian couple, unable to really understand, looked on in confusion. She pointed, like a teacher at a naughty child, and pointed at the £1 plastic bags that were for sale, and told the couple to “go and buy a bag!”
I did as I was told, and had to lose my travel toothpaste, which was no big loss. As I went back through Departures, my happiness, after a weekend of joy, was slowly corroding – if I was this women’s boss, she would have been for the ‘high jump’. I spoke to the gentleman next to her who was scanning the tickets – and wished him all the best with the Olympics, and added a sarcastic “You’ll need it!”
I should not have made that comment, but at this point as a regular traveller through Stansted, I was not overly surprised by this women’s tone – poor customer service seems to be all the rage, when departing the UK soil. “Why are you being sooooooo rude” she shouted at me. “Excuse me, why are you being sooooo rude” she shouted again. I ignored her shouting and waited in line for the next 25 minutes to get through a marathon of a slow moving queue.
In those 25 minutes, myself and my wife, discussed this event. It made me think, sadly of the Olympics and how as Stansted is very close to the Olympic village, how many people will leave the UK with a parting gift of ‘attitude’ and ‘aggression’. Of course, this person was doing her job. And I must apologize for having a clear plastic bag that was 2cms too big. She was only following orders and that was her job. However it is not someone’s job to be rude.
What does this have to do with TheEmployable you may ask? Well remember, that if you are in a job, looking to set up a business, or need to find a job, it is not just the initial sale that you need to do, you need to make sure that the ‘after sale’ is just as good.
It took me back to some of the basic training I had been given working in a sales and customer facing role, that the after sales and customer service you give, is as important as the sale. The sale on this occasion was my weekend in the UK. The after-sale was the departure gate gift I was given at the airport.
I thought to myself, what if I was over in the UK for the weekend, to look at investing a new £10 million factory in the East Anglian region where Stansted is based? Would that ‘after sales’ experience have stopped me from potential investing my money in the UK? – Perhaps. Could this leaving present of attitude and a blank face, cost the UK a little more than the price of a plastic bag? Could the ‘Italian’ couple, potentially have cancelled their next holiday to the UK? – You will never know. After sales has a cost after all.
The Olympics is coming to the UK. A massive opportunity, to sell the UK to the non UK visitor. They will see fireworks, a great opening ceremony, and some amazing events. The Queen will come out; even David Beckham will kick a ball! They will all be doing a grand job to sell the UK and the event itself. But, these moments will pass. You will also remember the experience you get from the ticket inspector, the shop assistant, the hotel waitress, and the ‘plastic bag checker’ at the airport.
So a wee note to said lady at Stansted, and anyone who is in a position of “after sales”, it is absolutely understandable to do your job, but at least do it with a smile and an element of care. The world has allowed the UK to host the Olympics – at least do your job and put on a show too. After all what does a smile cost?
P.S the lady three places in front of us, had a clear plastic bag, that was bigger than mine and had a big ‘non-clear’ strip across the middle of it. Just wanted to say. Yeah.