Why do store cashiers ask, “Did you find everything you’re looking for today?”
Seemingly, nothing is ever done with the information anyway. So I decided to run a little experiment last week. Grocery stores are notorious for asking The Question. So I went to five different grocery stores, thought up a couple of obscure items, checked for the item in the store and then went to check out with my other item. Upon checking out I was asked, “Did you find everything you’re looking for today?” Each time I was asked The Question, I responded that I was looking for xx product but you didn’t have it. The response? “oh,” “sorry about that,” and similar responses. Not once did any of the cashiers do anything with the information. And that’s understandable. What was really going to change if they shared the information with anyone? Nothing.
So why ask the question? Because someone sitting in an Operations department in a corporate office decided that it would be a cornerstone of their customer service model. Not so much.
THE REAL WORLD RETAILING TAKEAWAY
Don’t ask if you’re not going to do anything with it.
It’s insulting to your customers. Surely there are other ways to engage your customers from a customer service perspective.
The takeaway here is that as small retailers, we have the ability to change things. We can ask The Question and do something with the information. Here’s how:
- Create a simple sheet for the cash wrap where you can log the brand, the product, the customer’s name and phone number or email. Also include two columns for follow up – one for the follow up date and the other for the person’s initials who followed up.
- Ask every customer The Question upon checking out. When they tell you about a product they’re looking for which you don’t carry, take advantage of the opportunity to build the relationship.
- Sell them a similar product. If you have a similar item, make the customer aware. Many times, they’re willing to switch.
- If you don’t have a similar item, have every employee check with the owner, manager or other senior person who is in the store to see if they can provide insight.
- If all else fails log their information and tell them you’ll check into it and let them know.
Now you’ve made a commitment to the customer. You have to check into it and follow up with the customer. Can you imagine, as a customer, if you received a call from a store that followed up on your request to tell you:
A. that they would be bringing the product in and would let you know when or;
B. tell you that they weren’t going to bring the product in and here’s the reason why? And oh, by the way, that they offer xx product that’s similar to the one you’re looking for so check it out the next time you come in? You would be beyond impressed.
So get to it. Ask The Question of every customer. Then do something with the information. You might be surprised not only what you learn, but how your customers react.