Am I the Customer or is She the Customer?

As a customer service representative it is very important to me that I give my customers my undivided attention for the amount of time that I have them present in my office. It creates a stronger bond with the individual to come back and deepen their relationship with me simply because of the customer service they received. Working in a customer service environment for the last 10 years has taught me a very important thing: My paycheck is brought to me by the customer and without them I would not have the career that I have. In fact it says it on the bottom of my paycheck stub, and rather I agree or not it’s a true statement. Therefore, when a customer comes into your store to make their purchase or receive services they pay for it is very important that your associates give them their undivided attention. It doesn’t matter what kind of service you’re rendering to them if the customer is paying for it there should at least be some common courtesy that the associate should be rendering to the customer. I would like to share my story about my last visit to a super store that we all know very well.

Being a customer service representative has made me cognizant of how I’m treated when I go into stores and make purchases. It also gives me the ability to come back and share my views with my coworkers of what not to do when they have a customer in their window or in their office. Just a couple of weeks ago I went into this super store to purchase my usual personal items. I don’t particularly like shopping there but because I was in the area I put aside my differences and conducted my shopping. Everything was great until I got to the checkout lane and the associate who was going to assist me with ringing up my purchases was having a conversation with her coworker. As I placed my items onto the conveyor belt my mind wondered “when is she going to stop her conversation and actually look at me?” Apparently there was no such thing as ESP that day to get her to at least stop her conversation and simply say “Hello, how are you today?” Neither did her coworker stop the conversation to acknowledge me either. This left me wondering Am I the customer or is the coworker that you’re talking to the customer? The only thing this associate asked me was “are your items seperate?” because I asked her to not ring my coupons up that i placed on the counter while i unloaded my cart as she went along with ringing up my purchases. When i told her “no” she continued to scan my purchases and tell her coworker about her weekend all the while still not acknowledging my presence. With that being said, I left her register upset because of the lack of customer service I received. I voiced my concerns to her customer service manager and I’m almost positive that the conversation I had with the manager was not relayed to the sales associate because she looked as if she didn’t care either.

I say all of this to say that at the end of the day your employees are the face of your company, they determine if a customer will come back, shop, and spend their money in your stores. I’m sure that every CEO of any major company or organization has a customer centric point of view and if some of the associates that work in these places exhibit the kind of service skills I received that day their jobs would be offered to the next person who cared to exhibit customer service skills if that CEO was to walk into their place of business. This is why it’s important that as a leader in your store you coach your associates to understand what it means to offer exceedingly well customer service. Acknowledge, greet the customer, introduce yourself, give your undivided attention, and end with a thank you for shopping with us is all the customer needs to feel welcomed in your store. If these simple skills cannot be exhibited maybe as a leader you need to dig a little deeper and explain the importance of why customers appreciate these pleasantries when they come into your store. Helping your associate understand the company’s culture and explaining to them why it’s important for them to exhibit these skills often times allow them to do a better job. If you’re a small business owner offer a customer comment box. Trust me they will give feedback and this too will help you figure out what your customer needs and wants for your business to do. After all your paycheck is brought to you by the customer and not the associate that’s standing next to you that you’re holding a conversation with while assisting the customer.