Learn how to effectively acknowledge customers to keep them happy and reassured as they wait for your service.
- [Instructor] Have you ever been working the front counter of your store, when you gaze out on to the floor and see a sea of frowning faces waiting in line to be served? If you're in retail customer service, this probably sounds familiar. Let's talk about how to put those people at ease and turn their frowns into smiles by acknowledging your customers. When I was in college, I used to work as a bank teller at one of the busiest branches near my campus. Whenever I worked, I would continuously have a long line during my shift.
Customers would regularly wait in line 15 minutes or more. This was before online banking. I had to figure out a way to let them know that they were important and keep them reassured while they waited. The first thing I'd do, is I'd make eye contact with the person while they were waiting in line or when they'd first walk in the door. I'd greet them with a warm smile and make sure that they knew that I saw them. In some retail stores, customer service reps avoid eye contact as long as they can, especially if there's a long line.
They don't want to see all the frowning faces staring back at them. But once you make eye contact with the customer, they feel acknowledged. Even if they're waiting in line for a bit, most of them will smile back at you. Smiles are contagious, aren't they? Your smile is your number one line of defense when customers have to wait. Next, I'd communicate with the customer either verbally, non-verbally, or both. If the customer wasn't too far from me and could hear me, I say, "Welcome, I'll be with you as soon as I can." At the same time, I'd motion with my finger to signify, I'll be with you in a moment.
You could also verbally say that line, or just mouth it as well. Depending on how your space is set up, you have options for communicating with your customers. I have a favorite sushi restaurant by my house that's usually packed, but every time I walk in or if anyone walks in, the entire staff is aware of you. They stop what they're doing and yell in unison, "Irasshaimase," which means welcome. It's loud, fun, and can catch you off guard, but it always makes you feel special.
Suddenly, you know your wait will be worth it. You and your team can try something similar in your store if it's appropriate. Play with it. Last, once the customer finally arrived at my window, I'd greet them and thank them for waiting. You can say, "Thanks for waiting, how can I help you?" Or say, "I know the line was long today. "I'll do everything I can to make your experience worth the wait." If the customer is visibly upset about waiting, apologize for the wait. Apologies go a long way with upset customers. Say, "I'm sorry for the wait." Or, "Please forgive me." As you know, you can't always control the wait time, but you can always control how you interact with your customers.
If you treat them with kindness and caring every time, you'll provide them with excellent customer service.
In this course, learn techniques to deal with upset customers, and show empathy with active listening. Instructor and customer service expert David Brownlee—the author of Rock Star Customer Service—also provides etiquette tips to ensure quality service at every point of interaction: from the moment customers walk in the door to keeping them happy while they're on hold.
- Why it matters to deliver good service
- Creating a positive attitude
- Delivering a good first impression
- Dealing with upset customers
- How to listen
- Retail etiquette, including phone etiquette