One evening last week my wife was attending a PTA meeting so I decided to go get the kids and me some fast food. They wanted burgers but I didn’t. I did remember that there was a sandwich shop near one of the burger chains. I’d had a salad from one of the sandwich shop’s other locations near my office and I figured I’d buy me a salad and get the kids some burgers.
I walked into the sandwich shop about 7:30 PM. Other than the two employees, I was the only person in the store. As I walked in, the employee closest to the door not only failed to greet me, but averted her eyes from me and ignored me as she focused on some minor task.
The other employee, threw an exasperated glance at her and greeted me. I selected a salad, waited for my order and then left with it. Later I ate the salad and rated it as nothing special.
But what sticks in my mind and the reason I will probably not go back, was the way the employee refused to greet me when I walked in.
I tend to measure my customer service experiences using one of three categories:
- Failed to meet my need
- Met my need
- Exceeded my need.
The employee’s actions failed to meet my needs. The salad failed to meet my needs (I thought it was too heavy on lettuce and onions.)
However, the chain has half a dozen salads and I had liked the one I tried at the other store. I would have gone back, except the employee obviously didn’t care.
She could have met my needs by offering me a smile and a “Welcome to ________.”
She could have exceeded my needs by greeting me in a pleasant manner, then engaging me in conversation as I waited for my order. This would have made the time pass more quickly for her and would have brought me back more often.
Greeting customers is usually the first thing employees are taught whether the business is customer-focused or not. I hope the sandwich chain has hired secret shoppers and I hope they go to this store when this employee is working.
When the economy is this tough, there is no room for this kind of behavior.