Yesterday I stopped in a large Fortune 500 retail chain to make a small purchase. As I was checking out, the clerk was looking at an inventory list that she was working on when I came to the counter, she hardly looked up, and then proceed to check me out. She muffled an obligatory “Thanks.” and handed me my receipt quickly as she began to look back at her inventory list.
I thought to myself, wow, if I was the CEO of the company, I would not be happy with the customer service. As a consumer, however, I quickly shrugged it off and accepted it as poor service that was not out of the ordinary, until today.
Today, I stopped in a small business and made another small purchase with a very different customer service experience. I was greeted with a friendly “Hello” and smile from the owner right when I walked in and was told to ask if I needed any help. I was then left to myself to complete my shopping. I checked out and he looked me in the eye, said, “Thank you, I really appreciate your business” as he reached out to shake my hand.
Wow. As I walked out, I felt really good about the interaction, just because he looked me in the eye and said a genuine “Thank you” with a handshake. That was it. That is all he did. Granted, maybe a handshake at a large retail store would be different, but maybe not a bad thing? Certainly a “Thank you.” while looking someone in the eyes would be appropriate. What I learned from him is that the little, tiniest customer service experiences can have a huge impact on customer loyalty.
In the world of sales, make sure you are doing the simple little things, to have a huge impact:
- Look people in the eye when you shake their hand.
- State a genuine “Thank you.” when you have earned new business, set an appointment, or gained a commitment. Also, hand written “Thank You” notes never go out of style.
- Always be early or on-time.
- Never be late.
- Be prepared.
- Listen much much much more than you speak, please.
- Smile and learn to laugh easily. (Both are contagious, good for your health, and make you more likeable)
- Follow up when you say you will.
- Don’t make promises you can’t keep.
- Be kind and thoughtful.