In today's market place it seems that more and more businesses are finding it difficult to keep their staff motivated and enthusiastic while dealing with customers. With big box stores becoming the norm it seems that the more personable service of yesteryear is slipping further from us. Self-serve check-outs, over worked staff, companies wanting to cut employment costs and busy people trying to rush through their shopping experience as quickly as possible all adds up to a recipe for short tempers of both store staff and customers if not dealt with carefully.
How can you be a great customer?
1. Often it isn't easy to separate what you are feeling or dealing with from the act of shopping or being in a public situation where delays, crowds, wrong pricing on products or disinterested sales staff add to the pressures of your day. Although some people aren't shy about public displays or voicing their frustration, it often gets you further to be as courteous as possible in order to do what you can to have relatively pleasant interactions with others. Even if it means biting our tongue, passing bad moods forward isn't an effective means of getting through your shopping expedition reasonably unscathed. Bad moods seem to attract others who are also in bad moods and if they weren't? It sometimes doesn't take much to annoy them. As customers we can do our part to attempt to educate others simply by offering ourselves as examples. You may feel that it's a frustrating, unnoticeable effort but you would be surprised how many shoppers who stand behind you with nothing more to do than read the cover of magazines as they wait their turn, are in reality paying attention to you.
2. What about sales staff who treat you as though you are invisible or worse they are not friendly or are downright rude? An assertive manner is always so much better than a confrontational or derogatory one. If the person has not offered you a courteous greeting you why not strike up a conversation? Asking someone how they are doing could lead to a tirade of complaints but usually you'll find that if you show them enough interest they will often tend to be more helpful and interested in reciprocating your friendly attitude.
3. Smiling. It is often very difficult for the recipient of a sincere smile to refuse to return in kind or at the very least soften their demeanor toward you. Sometimes you'll get someone who either doesn't answer you or does so shortly or simply refuses to treat you in a professional manner. If it bothers you immensely it is always better to take the issue up with a Supervisor or Manager rather than directly with the employee. Remembering to approach the employees Superior with a friendly attitude and with the intent that you are interested in helping the store maintain their history of good customer service - even if you know the store is not very strong in that respect. Sometimes you just end up faced with someone who for whatever reason, just doesn't want to interact with anyone. Silence and courtesy on your part will still rule the day.
4. If by chance your item being checked through the cash happens to be devoid of a price tag or sku (also known as a bar code), this can be reason enough for an overworked cashier to have a moment of frustration flash across their face. It's easy for us as consumers to want nothing more than to save a little money at the check out but imagine if every time we went to the store, the same errors showed up over and over again. We'd become just a little frustrated to see our hard earned money being chipped at for no other reason than the prices have not been properly managed or posted. Same goes for the check out person, especially given that these errors could happen a dozen times a day or more. Always try to appeal to their good side by offering to bring another product with a price tag on it rather than having another staff member do so. Sometimes this can make that one too often price check a little less frustrating for both of you.
5. The checkout at stores is often a place where customers find themselves getting a bit more testy when the lines are longer than usual. Usually I'll use this time to formulate tasks I need to do in the coming day or week, or I'll even spend those extra few minutes in line daydreaming about a holiday, renovation or new purchase I intend to make "some day". Anything you can do that will quietly and unobtrusively allow you to remove yourself from the wait mentally can help you appreciate those long lines especially when they offer you the opportunity to actually obtain some additional time to do something you might otherwise not have given a second thought to.
In today's environment it's very easy for us to become more self absorbed and not really notice the people around us or how their mood, or ours, can actually impact on how well or how poorly our own experiences actually turn out. By taking just a little bit of time and striving to be a customer who tries to place themselves in the shoes of the staff member serving us, we can avoid or even exstinguish less than satisfactory encounters more often than not. For those times when we happen to run into someone who simply isn't being very cordial despite our attempts, just shrug it off because we all know we can't please all of the people all of time. Our main goal is to have as pleasant a shopping experience as possible and some of these tips just might help you the next time your faced with a trying shopping experience.