How Commission Based Sales Hurt Customer Service


(Image courtesy of Pixabay)


Today I’m pleased to share a guest post by Steve DiGioia who is a thought leader in the areas of customer service, leadership, and management.


Don’t hard-sell me.  I don’t like it and I promise you won’t change my mind. Touting the benefits of a product/service over my objections does nothing to sway me. All it does is want me to leave the item at your register and walk out the door.

Best Buy, a local electronics “mega store”, has more items than anyone could possibly want. Aisle after aisle is packed with the latest gadgets and there are plenty of blue-shirted employees to help you. That’s a good thing.

I stopped into the store yesterday with my cousin who eagerly guided me through the benefits of his latest gadget, the Amazon Fire TV Stick.  Now it was my turn to buy it.

One of the sales associates quickly helped us find the item within the large store then whisked us towards the short checkout line. Another good thing.

Here’s when my problems started.

The cashier went through a litany of questions all designed to get me to either sign-up for or buy something else.

“Are you a Best Buy frequent shopper?”  No.

After ringing up my one item, he asked “do you have a Best Buy credit card?”  No.

“Are you interested in opening an account with us today?”  No

Throughout this process I already have my credit card in hand and am patiently waiting for the machine prompt to swipe or insert.

“If you don’t want to open a credit card today I need you to push this button to decline the card”.  I push the button.

“Do you want to purchase an extended warranty for your item, it’s only $12.00?”

Before I get to answer my equally impatient cousin says “no”.  The cashier asks why.

“It’s only a $50 item.  I’m not going to pay 25% for a warranty.  If it breaks I’ll just buy another one” my cousin says.

Now, here the amazing part…

Instead of the cashier saying “OK, thank you” or trying to further explain the benefits of the warranty, he said “that’s a terrible attitude to take”.

What proceeded was a mini, but respectful, argument between my cousin, the cashier and his associate.  They wanted to “sell” us on the benefits of an extended warranty and how our “attitude” was wrong for not wanting it.

All through this I’m still there with credit card in hand, looking at the screen and waiting to swipe or insert.

Finally I said “Listen, I’m not interested in buying anything else. Just let me pay for this and leave”.

Over-aggressive sales people do more harm than they realise. We can quickly go from a happy, ready-to-purchase customer to one feeling pushed, prodded and sold on items we don’t want.

Are Best Buy employees on commission? I don’t know, but it sure seems so. Informed sources claim that their hours are based on whether sales goals are reached. If they don’t meet their goal for the day, they’d see a cut in hours. If they surpass their goal, they get more hours. What a shame.

What do customers need?

Don’t turn my shopping experience into a maze of confusion where I am made to feel guilty because I didn’t want to be “sold” on a service or product. You may deem this or that is important to me but it is my decision not yours.

My shopping experience should be quick, not bogged down with questions designed solely to gather information for a future sale.

Is the customer always right? Maybe, maybe not. But allow me to believe I am right and don’t force your opinion, or sales goals, on me.

Let me leave your business with a smile and knowing that I made a wise decision to shop with you.

Will I shop with Best Buy again? Probably. Maybe this was just a fluke situation that I will chalk up to experience. If it happens again, then it’s time to take my business elsewhere.

And the Amazon Fire TV Stick?  So far so good…



A 25+ year hospitality veteran, customer service trainer, coach, author and speaker and known as the “go-to guy”, Steve DiGioia has developed high performance service teams through increased leadership engagement, attention to detail and anticipating the customer’s needs. Steve is a featured contributor to many of the customer service and hospitality industry’s leading publications. He continues his original customer service, leadership and management-based writings on his popular blog.


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One thought on “How Commission Based Sales Hurt Customer Service

  1. Steve DiGioia says:

    Hi Ben,
    Thank you for allowing me to be part of your site with this guest post. I hope your many readers enjoy it. Cheers!

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