THE TOY SHOP
Happy Shopping International is a chain of departmental stores. It opened its first outlet as an experiment 10 years ago in Andheri, Mumbai. The founder members had insisted that it must have a very sound and strong philosophy to serve customers and give them "a happy shopping" experience. It was a grand success, which resulted in the opening of one more store in central Mumbai within a year. Happy Shopping International now has eight departmental stores across the country - in Bangalore, Chennai, Tiruvanathapuram, New Delhi, Pune and Kolkata. The store has a wide variety of shops and entertainment areas for children and adults.
The store recruited smart sales assistants and gave them initial training emphasizing customer service as a key value. The HR department was also active in initiating incentive schemes time and again, to keep the focus on "Customer satisfaction".
The store has a Shop Supervisor and two Sales Assistants in each section. Navin Sharma is one of the two Sales Assistants in the toys sections of Happy Shopping International, Pune. Navin is among the few sales assistants who have taken the message of customer service seriously. The shop supervisor observed that customers found Navin easy to deal with because of his affable manners and attitude of serving with a smile. The enthusiastic response that he received from customers was evidenced from his good ‘sales strike’ record.
On one Sunday morning, a couple walked into the toy shop with their 3 year old son. While the parents were busy making up their minds on a toy to buy for their son who would be celebrating his 3rd birthday the next day, their son was busy exploring around the shop all by himself. He was instantly attracted to the latest model of a tricycle and started insisting with his parents that he wanted the tricycle and nothing else. Since they figured out that the tricycle had got their son really hooked on it, they decided to buy it. The father asked Navin about the price and was told it would cost Rs.700. After hearing the price, the parents enquired with Navin if there was any discount available. Navin went to check with his supervisor and was told that since it was a new product, an introductory discount of 5% could be offered. Navin returned with the good news. It meant that they could now buy the tricycle for Rs.665. The parents conferred with each other and decided that they could not afford the tricycle. When they tried reasoning with the child to settle for something else, the child was very unhappy and started to cry. Looking at the boy, Navin thought of his younger days and how disappointed he felt at such times. He tried to convince the parents that they should get the tricycle for their son. The parents explained that they too wanted it but that it did not fit into their budget. They could only go up to Rs.550. Navin felt disheartened for the child, for whom he had by now developed a fancy. He was wondering if there was any way he could solve the problem when he suddenly remembered that in a recent communication from the HR department, the company had introduced a facility of a quarterly discount of 15% for employees. Under this facility, employees were entitled to purchase items from the section they were working with. He made up his mind to use this option to help this customer. If he used the facility and offered the discount to the parents, they would be able to get the tricycle for their son. He went to check with his supervisor, but he had just left for some work. Navin thought that the facility, anyway, was available to him as an employee. Without thinking any further, he sold tricycle to the parents and adjusted the money against the discounts allowed to him as an employee. The parents were very happy and thanked Navin from the bottom of their heart.
When the Supervisor came back Navin enthusiastically told him about how he had made the customers "Happy". The Supervisor was enraged and said, 'You have misused the facility. If everyone starts doing this, the business will suffer. I am going to treat this as a case of misconduct and report it to higher ups.' Navin left the place perplexed.
The Supervisor wrote a note to the General Manager emphasizing that if the incident was ignored, it could lead to employees using the facility to get "kickbacks". He highlighted the fact that the facility was meant for employees for purchasing items for themselves and not for on selling. Else, he noted that there were 1000 sales assistants in the organization who could potentially misuse the facility. He sent the note to be taken up in the weekly meeting scheduled for the next day, when all the section supervisors reported cases of indiscipline.
You are the General Manager of the Pune outlet of Happy Shopping International. You are also the Chairman of the Disciplinary Committee. You are expected to take a decision in the committee and prepare a fax message of the decision for the HR Director in Mumbai.
THE TOY SHOP , By: VANDANA KHARE