By Alli Hill
Last weekend while grocery shopping, I witnessed a woman become quite irritated after she stood in line at the deli counter for nearly 10 minutes behind another customer who was taking an exceptionally long time to make her selections (I know it was 10 minutes, as I had been standing at that same counter for about as long). As she walked away, I heard her mutter, "I don't have time for this."
While I continued to wait at the counter for help, I thought about how one simple action from the deli attendant could have potentially saved that sale:
Acknowledge your customers. It seems like a no-brainer, but it still amazes me how many times I visit a store or restaurant and feel like no one even knows I'm there, or have to seek out an employee for help. This should never happen.
Here are three reasons why you should make it a point to acknowledge every customer:
- It breaks the ice. Your customers should never have to seek out help. Make it a point to approach every customer as soon as you see them. This cements the beginning of the transaction and opens the door for the customer to fulfill the reason they came to your store. Once you make the initial contact, your customer is less likely to leave empty-handed.
- It projects a sense of value on the customer. When your customers choose to buy from you, they're doing YOU a favor, not the other way around. Welcome them with a warm smile, direct eye contact, or even a simple "How are you?". They'll feel important, and you will leave them with a favorable impression of your business.
- It makes a customer's wait time seem shorter. No customer wants to feel as though you're too busy for them. If you can't even find a second to acknowledge them, they may think you have enough business and take their money elsewhere.
Whether you're selling deli meats, interest rates, professional services, retail goods or pipes, valves and fittings, if you can't give your full attention to a customer right away, let them know you'll be right with them. This simple gesture helps soften their attitude about having to wait, and they may decide to hang around a little longer.
When it comes to your customers, the old saying rings true: "If you ignore something, it will go away." Make a commitment to acknowledge every person who walks through the door, and you may find your door is opening more often.