CUSTOMER SERVICE : Service With A Smile

You’ve heard it said before, it takes more muscles to frown than it takes to smile, but do we?

No, not often enough is the answer! And that’s bad for business.

I know the weather’s lousy most of the time and we’re susceptible to SAD (Seasonal Affective Disorder) over the winter months but here’s an opportunity to save energy and make you feel good about yourself – SMILE.

It will also make your customers feel good about you.

It’s really important to make customers feel welcome, especially on the first encounter. As we all know people buy from people and the better that personal interaction is the more likely customers are to buy from you, rather than a competitor.

However, you also need to give customers some space – don’t harrass them. How many times have you walked into a shop and had a sales assistant accost you before you’ve cleared the threshold? The converse, ignoring you completely, is equally commonplace and wrong.

In the past few weeks I’ve encountered the very best and worse in customer service.

The best was with a sales assitant called Kat (she wore a name badge – another good idea) in Harveys, Inverness. My wife and I were in to buy a couple of recliner armchairs. Kat approached us, after we were well inside the shop, to enquire what we were looking for and pointed us in the direction of appropriate items on display. She then left us to try them out, before returning to enquire how she could help us. We went through all the options, discussed price and proceeded to make a purchase. Not only was she very pleasant, she was also very knowledgable – clearly very well trained.

A few days later I had the misfortune to call into the Spar shop in Carrbridge to buy some bits for lunch. Two young sales assistants were in attendance, but neither smiled nor spoke, even the one who took my money. Albeit, they seemed to have no difficulty speaking to each other whilst I was there. It is difficult to recall an instance when I felt more of a nuisance, whilst parting with my hard earnt cash. Clearly, a training issue there.

Interestingly, Kat isn’t British! Is that a coincidence, I wonder?