Customer Service in Sales Boot


Tasks can wait, customers won’t

“Give me a minute” says the Associate…let me see if I understand this.

The other day I walked into a retail store in a busy mall just as it was opening. The doors were completely open. The lone staff member was busily moving fixtures toward the front of the store – those fixtures that have to be moved back at day’s end so that the door grills can be closed.

I was holding a cup of coffee and was pulling my briefcase and carrying a purse. I saw an item that caught my eye as I was walking past the store. Isn’t that great? The store had a visual display that attracted me – a customer.

I approached the display and realized that I would probably not be able to reach the item comfortably and would likely make a mess if I tried. I turned and asked the young woman working there if the item was merchandised anywhere else in the store so I could have a closer look at it. I should mention that the employee had not yet acknowledged my presence in the store but there is no question she knew I was there.

Her response, delivered without looking at me and in a tone that said ‘you’re disturbing me’, was “give me a minute”. Excuse me? Give you a minute? I don’t believe that was the correct response. Perhaps something like “oh yes, they are right over there” or “I’ll be happy to get that one down for you” would have been appropriate.

I am not an impatient person but I certainly don’t think that I should have to shop on the Associates’ schedule. The store was open and the item was available for sale. She should have reacted differently. So, no, I did not give her a minute. I left the store. And just in case you are wondering…I would definitely have made the purchase if things had worked out differently.

The customer in your store is much more important than any task. This is Customer Service 101says dmsretail. If you are not servicing another customer then you have no right to expect someone to “give you a minute” for anything. The customer who is there in your store asking for your help may purchase something. Isn’t this what you want? Don’t you want to sell your merchandise to customers? It is unbelievable to me that some retailers do not yet understand these simple concepts.

Customers are time starved. Don’t make them wait. If you must make them wait, make sure you have a good reason and make sure you explain why they are waiting.

If this is happening in your store, what will you do?



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