As I walked into the shop, the assistant didn?t acknowledge me, as she was busy talking to her friend on the other side of the counter.
I started looking for a birthday card and caught a few snatches of their conversation. They were both talking, but not really to each other. Each one had their own agenda for the conversation ? things they wanted to say ? so they weren?t actually listening to each other.
Another customer walked up to the counter to pay for some cards. The assistant carried on her conversation with her friend, only speaking briefly to her customer to tell her how much she owed her. She did at least say thank you when the money was handed over, but she didn?t look at her customer. She was too busy giving her opinion to her friend.
I walked round the shop until I found a suitable card ? about 5 minutes in all ? and when I approached the counter, the assistant?s friend finally said, ?Well I mustn?t keep you and it was nice to talk.? With that she left, leaving the assistant to give me her undivided attention. I was glad her friend had gone, because otherwise I?d have been tempted to say something to either or both of them. I only spent a few pounds in the shop, but that doesn?t mean I want to be ignored or treated like an inconvenience.
How difficult is it to pay attention to a customer, when they only need a couple of minutes of your time? If you only have a few minutes, how do you want your customers to remember you? For the wonderful way in which you made them feel, which leaves them wanting to come back again and again; or like they were intruding on your life and should never darken your door again?