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HELLO! How May I Help You?

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On: Fri, Sep 20, 2013 at 1:39PM | By: Karen Cook


HELLO! How May I Help You?

Over the weekend I was shopping at a local big box store and the lines were getting a little long at the check out. This particular merchant had big signs at one time promising to open a new register if the lines had more than a certain number of customers waiting to check out. Those signs didn’t last long. Now there is no more assurance of good old customer service. I asked a cashier at a closed register if she was about to open. I was obviously an annoyance. She snapped at me that someone was going to open this register at some undetermined time. There was no smile, there was no courtesy. I remember a time when it was a feat to avoid tripping over sales clerks who wanted nothing more than to help you with your purchase, almost to the point of obnoxiousness.

There’s only one place to find such service and attention now—a car lot. Sure, car salesmen get a bad rap. And some of them deserve it, but you have to admit, you can’t walk on to the lot without someone approaching you with a smile and willing to help you. I feel guilty if I’m “just looking” but he never sees me as a waste of time. At least, not that he lets on. I can ask as many questions as I want, “try on” as many cars as I like, and even if I don’t buy this person treats me like his best friend the whole while. He offers coffee, apologizes for any inconveniences I encounter, and offers me “discounts” which are surely compensated for in my final contract but, hey, it feels good.

Society has gotten it into its head that car salesmen are slimy, tricky, not to be trusted creatures, but I think they’re misunderstood. They know they won’t be successful unless the customer is happy. They know they can’t make a sale if they are surly or neglectful. They receive training on how to make your experience pleasant and one you want to tell your friends about. Now, I’m not suggesting that retail workers need to be quite this accommodating but is it so much to ask to answer a question with respect and tell me where the heck the fall M&Ms are? Someone should tell them what car salesmen know. Your customer is the most important person on the property, even if your dog died this morning and you burnt your breakfast. Customer service is a role you play. It doesn’t matter if it’s real, as long as your audience believes it.




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