The other day, after refueling, I entered a well-known branded depanneur whose name I will not tell.
As soon as I passed the door, I was immediately assaulted by a big “hello” shouted at the top of my head with the subtlety of a baseball bat.
The employee in question seems to have developed this reflex: she shouted “hello” thus to any newcomer during my short presence, no matter her relative position in the store.
Needless to say, decibels have fluctuated proportionately to the customer’s distance, which can sometimes reach up to 30 feet when the clerk is at the end of the convenience store.
And not only does she shout at it, but moreover, she scarcely looks at whom she speaks.
I understand that the intention is pure, for the purpose to be welcoming, but is this the right approach? I don’t think so!
Respecting the client’s comfort zone
Assaulting your clients is never a good idea. And it does not take much to irritate them.
Firstly, when a customer enters the store, he brings with him his own comfort zone. It is important to learn to respect it.
This space surrounding him serves as a protective zone. In there, he feels comfortable alone with his thoughts, moods and inner world.
To throw him a “hello” when he does not expect it is tantamount to invading his intimacy without being invited.
A better course of action is simply to stay attentive. This means waiting for the right moment, when the client himself will signal to you that he opens up, usually by a glance.
When his attention turns naturally towards you, then take the opportunity to tell him, finally, that famous “hello”.
He will appreciate your attention. He is in a listening mode, focused and not thinking about anything else.
So you do not extirpate him from his thoughts; you accompany him.
As soon as he comes out of his zone, you are there for him.
Show the importance you place on customer service… with small gestures
To finish my story, I completed my purchases and approached the counter to pay, where two people were already waiting.
The “hello” employee was then leaning on the ice cream counter, more concerned about placing her stuff than serving her customers.
When her manager asked her to take care of us, she passed promptly in front of me without apologizing.
All that to say: I did not go angry, far from it.
However, as a Sales and Customer Relationship Specialist, I was fascinated to see how, even in a small convenience store, there is so much more you can do to increase sales.
And we’re talking about a convenience store affiliated with a major chain recognized for its world-class management!
Do you realize the IMMENSIVE POTENTIAL of IMPROVEMENT that you sit on in your depanneurs?
Do you question once in a while your hospitality and customer service practices? You should.
Remember: the devil is in the details … and on this, I throw you a huge GOODBYE!!!