Scene: Staff meeting in a retail outlet before the store opens.
Manager: “Folks, our sales are down; corporate is watching our expenses like a hawk. What can we do, without spending any money, to improve our sales?”
Everyone looks at everyone else, no one says anything for long seconds and then the new guy tentatively raises his hand.
Manager: “Yes, Scott, what’s your suggestion?”
Scott: Well, what if we were friendlier to customers? What if we greeted them as soon as they walked in the door? What if we engaged them in conversation while we were waiting on them?
(Smirks from the more experienced sales staff.)
Jim, the experienced sales person rolls eyes and sarcastically says: “Riiiiiight!”
Manager: You know Scott, you might have a point there. I’ve noticed that you’re always interacting with customers while you wait on them. Maybe that’s why, when I count out the tip jar after your shift, it’s always larger than anyone else’s, including Jim’s.”
Manager: “Folks, what Scott is talking about is basic customer service. It costs nothing for us to be nice to customers, to focus on them instead of finishing that display or wiping down the counter.”
Scott: “The additional tips are nice, but I have a lot more fun working here when I interact with the customer. My shift flies by.
Manager: “I’ve also seen customers ask for you when they return. And you cross sell more than any other new person I’ve ever seen.”
Scott: “That’s right. It’s cool when they come back.”
Manager: “How do you feel about that?”
Scott: “Proud. I leave work tired, but proud.”
Manager: “And that repeat business means we make more sales and that means it’s less likely we’ll lay off employees.” Starting today, let’s remember what our mothers taught us and be more courteous to people. Look them in the eye, give them a genuine smile, and engage them in a conversation. See if you can identify any other needs we can meet. By doing that, we’ll increase our sales and enjoy our work more. And we’re more likely to escape any cutbacks.”