How Do I Know If I've Been Spiffed?

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Customer Strategy
Sales
With all this talk about customer trust and companies acting in customers' best interest, it got me thinking about spiffs...

With all this talk about customer trust and companies acting in customers' best interest, it got me thinking about spiffs--incentives that manufacturers provide dealers and retail salespeople to sell their wares over the competitor's.

Spiffs are great for salespeople, not so great for customers. Salespeople motivated by a boost in their commission check or some other incentive may be more likely to sell what's good for them instead of what's best for the customer. Actually, I'd have to say highly likely. The bad thing about spiffs is that as a customer you don't know you're "being spiffed." If a company puts something on a "clearance" sale and I choose to buy it specifically because it's on sale, that's my choice. But if a salesperson recommends that I purchase something simply because he's going to get a bonus of some sort, that's not OK. He might sell me something that's not right for me at all. Not only is that a poor customer experience, but if I return it because I realize it wasn't right for me, it adds costs to the company; and if I don't return it, but I'm not satisfied, I may take my future business to the more trustable competition, and I may recommend that others not purchase from that company.

This is just as much an issue in B2B as in B2C. But I wonder if anyone in the chain (manufacturer, dealer, retail management, salespeople) really cares about the end customer. More likely, companies that offer and use spiffs just care about the sale.

Is the risk of damaging a long-term relationship--or never starting one that could be profitable--really worth the quick-fix sale?

EXPERT OPINION
EXPERT OPINION