Friday, I downloaded Skype, the VOIP software that allows users to make free long distance telephone calls. I’m hosting a meeting in Dallas and I have one person in Hawaii and another in St. Louis who need to participate.
Saturday morning I went over to my neighborhood Radio Shack to check out headsets. When I entered, there were two sales people helping customers. I roamed the small store looking on my own but could not see any mikes. I walked over and stood about 10 feet from one of the sales reps and waited. Neither of the two appeared to notice me at all.
In walked several customers. Because one of them was closer to the sales person than I, he got the attention and was waited on before me.
I stood there frustrated without saying anything and then noticed yet another customer making a beeline for the other sales person. I left.
If I were the manager of that store, here’s what I would insist my employees do. Customers would be greeted within 10 seconds of the time they walked in the door, even when busy with another customer. I’d train them to make a mental note of the order in which the customers arrived so they could be waited on in turn.
Knowing who is in your store and in what order they arrive is an example of situation awareness.
Ever noticed that many convenience store clerks greet you when you walk in the door? Making eye contact with a customer reduces thefts because the evildoers know that they’ve been seen and perhaps remembered. In some cases they also prevent assault and battery.
This particular Radio Shack also has aisles where the employees cannot see the customer. It wouldn’t take much to stuff an item into a pocket or purse. I don’t think the sales staff ever took a decent look at me.
Train your staff to practice situation awareness by greeting customers within the first 10 seconds they enter the store. First, so that the sales staff can remember the order in which customers arrive, second because it’s the polite thing to do, and third, because it may prevent theft.
How many times have you left a store because you experienced the same thing? Make sure it’s not happening to your customers.