Respect the product, respect the customer

Version 2

I stopped by an area department store the other day to make a purchase.  What I bought does not matter since this post is not about me but rather about the two customers  in front of me at the checkout counter.  I found an interesting contrast between their two service experiences.


After making my selections, I wandered to the cash wrap and got in line with my fellow customers.  (This particular department store is one that uses a centralized cash wrap in each area off the store.)  Two cashiers were ringing up people’s purchases and, between the two of them, they were making short work of the people waiting in line.

The two customers in front of me in line wore professional clothing and each were purchasing a blouse and a pair of pants (on hangers).  They were called up to the registers at the same time, so I took the opportunity to observe the two cashiers work head to head.  The cashier on the right was professionally dressed and had a warm, friendly and professional demeanor; let’s call her Right.  The cashier on the left was casually attired and was terse with customers; let’s call her Left. (It was just a coincidence that correct cashier happened to be on the right.)

As Left’s customer approached, she made no effort to greet them but simply asked the obligatory “Did you find everything you were looking for?”  You could clearly see her relief when the customer said she was “just fine” as she placed her two selections on the counter.  Left pulled the hangers out of the clothing while leaving the garments in a wrinkled heap on the counter.  Digging for the hangtags, she scanned each item and announced the amount due and stood there as the customer got their credit card out of their wallet.  Left made no attempt to fold or even neaten up the garments.

Meanwhile on the other side of the cash wrap, Right offered a warm greeting to her customer as they approached the counter with their items.  Rather than ask if they found everything, Right asked “Is there anything more that I can help you with today?” The customer assured them that they found everything just fine and needed no further assistance.  Right took the two garments from the customer and hung them on a nearby hook rather than placing them on the counter.

Then with the hands of a practiced professional, Left carefully removed the garments from the hangers and quickly and carefully folded each garment before placing them on the counter.  She placed them side by side; carefully positioning the hang tags so she could scan them easily.  As she was preparing the items to be scanned and bagged, Right complimented the customer on her selections and then offered her some garment care tips.  Right then told the customer the amount due.  While the customer dug their credit card out, Right careful placed the two garments into a shopping bag while telling the customer she could simply swipe their credit card on the counter top reader.

On the other side, the customer handed her their credit card, Left told the person that they needed to swipe the card themselves. “Now sign” Left said pointing to the scanner as she waited for the POS to complete the transaction.  When the transaction was complete, Left asked the customer if they needed a bag to which they responded, “yes.”  Left retrieved a bag from below the counter and proceeded to shove the items into the bag making no effort to fold the items and then shoved the receipt into the bag.  The customer asked, “May I have the receipt?”  Without saying a word, Left pulled the crumbled receipt out of the bag and handed it to the customer and quickly added “There you go” then turning towards the waiting line announced, “Next” while her customer hurriedly put the receipt in her wallet.

Meanwhile, Right’s customer offered them her credit card and then, rather than refusing it, Right simply swiped the card for the customer and pointed out they could sign on the countertop card reader.  As the customer signed, Right checked if the customer needed a gift receipt.  As the POS spit out the receipt, Right handed it to the customer and as the customer put the receipt in their wallet, Right picked up the bag and stepped around the end of the counter to pass it to the customer.  As the customer took the bag, Right said, “Thanks for shopping with us today.  Enjoy your afternoon.”  Smiling, the customer said, “Thank you” as they turned to walk away.  Stepping back behind the cash wrap, Right called to the line, “May I help the next customer, please?”

In spite of taking extra time to treat the customer’s products with respect by folding them carefully, offering care instructions and engaging the customer in a friendly conversation, Right actually finished with her customer first and was greeting me as Left was calling for her next customer.


Teachable Moment

Do you and your employees treat product with respect?  Are clothes carefully folded?  Are garments placed carefully in the bag?  Are displays neat, clean and orderly?  Is stocking done with care?  Do the actions of your store’s employees demonstrate the value of your products?  If you do not value your products, how can you ever feel comfortable talking to customers about price?  If you do not respect the product, how will I know if you will respect me as a customer?  When selling products, do employees make sure they customer knows how to properly maintain, clean and care for the product?

Train and coach your employees to respect the product and the customer.



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