We got to the checkout of a well known store just before closing on the recent Bank Holiday Monday. Our expectations for customer service were not particularly high and I fully appreciate that the Lanky Lad who stood at the till probably wanted to get home asap after putting in a long stint (6 hours he told us) of smiling, talking and helping customers.
We had nipped in just in time to get a new toilet seat for my Mum, who in her 80’s, needs these things in working order, and had phoned to see if we could get it sorted.
When said Lanky Lad opened the box we saw that the seat was chipped and he quickly dispatched a colleague to replace it for us. So far so good. As we waited patiently we attempted some conversation and he responded with “Why on earth are you in here on a Bank Holiday? You should be at home with your feet up!” I felt my partner bristle next to me, having taken this as a comment about age and an insult to his (impressive for his age) fitness!
This brief interaction revealed that Lanky Lad had no understanding of the importance of valuing the customer. Valuing the customer can be demonstrated in numerous ways, none of which include telling them what they should be doing! To be honest I think he was just projecting his own need for a lie down onto us.
Research conducted by The Henley Centre for Customer Management back in 2006 identified a number of recommendations for valuing the customer that stand the test of time. Here are their top three:
- Be helpful, genuinely helpful
- Value your customer’s time – don’t keep them waiting
- Recognise returning customers
Of course making conversation with customers isn’t always easy, especially for young, inexperienced staff. But being genuinely helpful goes a long way to overcoming any difficulty as the focus is shifted to helping and away from offering opinions.
What do you do that makes your customers feel valued?
We design and deliver high impact drama-based training in customer care, that focuses on enabling front line staff to value their customers. For more information please contact us.
Lemke F., Clark M., Wilson H (2006) “What makes a great customer experience” The Henley Centre for Customer Management, Henley Business School