Ben Cavender CMR 3
Ben Cavender

Gone are the old queues of eager customers lining up in China’s cities, selling to Chinese customers has become a challenge. The quality of your customer’ services is going to be key for your sales, explains retail analyst Ben Cavender in CKGSB Knowledge.

GKGSB Knowledge:

Benjamin Cavender of Shanghai-based China Market Research Group points out that the 18 to 35 age group is driving spending, and tending to be only children. They’re used to being doted upon, “so they are demanding a lot more from companies when they go to shop for products.”…

As China becomes richer, customers are often buying products for the first time. McKinsey pointed out that first-time buyers account for 60% of auto purchasers in China. With consumer electronics, between 30% and 40% of laptop purchases in China are made by first-time buyers, says the McKinsey report.

“They’re purchasing products they haven’t bought before and so they are expecting education (from sales staff) to go with that,” says Cavender…
There are several challenges to delivering better customer service in China, but first and foremost is finding and training the staff.

Cavender says this is particularly clear with in-store sales. “It’s difficult to train them to really know the products–as they need some level of experience with them–and to know how to interest the customer,” he says. “It is also very difficult to teach someone to cross-sell. Most service staff aren’t able to suggest what will go well with, say, a suit because they haven’t been taught it or received that kind of service themselves. It’s something the customer in China absolutely wants but it is very difficult for them to get.”

One reason it is so difficult to find the right people is that service jobs are sometimes viewed negatively, with a subconscious belief amongst Chinese people that it is demeaning to serve…

“We are going to get people filling these roles going forward who will have had some experience with these products and services, but it is going to be a gradual change,” says Cavender.

More in GKGSB Knowledge.

Ben Cavender is a speaker at the China Speakers Bureau. Do you need him at your meeting or conference? Do get in touch or fill in our speakers’ request form.

How to localize your products for the China market? Ben Cavender discusses the cases of four companies who did not get it right: B&Q, Dunkin Donut, Gap and IKEA. Most China-related discussions at the China Weekly Hangout. 

This week the China Weekly Hangout will focus on US-China relations after the revealed hacking cases from a PLA-unit in Shanghai. Here is our announcement, and you can still register here. If you cannot get access to the hangout, you can also send your messages via Twitter and Google+, with hash tag #CWHCWH during the event.

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