by Jude Carter
The other day I was in a newly opened department store. It was a very hot Saturday, and the store was pretty crowded with folks looking for a cool escape. I had purchased a few items and was standing in line (a long one) waiting to check out. The line was at a complete standstill and the customers were steaming.
Though there was a bank of 6 open registers, every one of them seemed hung up. All the cashiers were frowning at their registers, completely absorbed in whatever the problem was. Eventually a manager appeared. (He, too, was frowning.) He walked right past the long lines and headed to the registers where he made various adjustments. Eventually the problem was fixed and the line began to move.
During all this, not one employee ever bothered to look up, acknowledge the annoyed customers, smile, apologize or even explain what was going on. It appeared that all that mattered was fixing those registers. There was no sense of how this mess was affecting the customer experience.
What kind of customer service training did these workers have? Was it all about how to work the register? Well guess what? Without customers, there’s nothing to ring up. And they sure won’t be returning if they experience lousy service and bad employee attitudes.
What is it that really makes a difference in customer service? To me, it’s that extra something that happens when the employee connects with the customer and is actually present. Making eye contact can make a huge difference by:
· Showing that you’re paying attention and showing interest
· Creating a friendly, personal connection
· Conveying respect and courtesy
Do your training and recognition programs place enough focus on interpersonal skills?