What is the word for “Unhello” ?

Pavel Krok

A 20-something man wearing an Oregon Ducks t-shirt, a young mother pushing a running stroller wearing yoga pants, a 50-something guy shorts and a button down shirt and a teenager in a letter jacket walk into a store.  Kind of sounds like a joke.  Unfortunately, it is not.

It is from my experience walking into a major sporting goods store, one of the remaining national chains, at my local mall last Friday.  As the four of us approached and entered the store, I noticed something interesting and personally disturbing.  As the young man entered the store, the two 20-something female cashiers stationed at the cash wrap near the mall entrance looked up and cheerily welcomed him into the store.  He returned their greeting.

He was followed closely by the stroller pushing mother in yoga pants.  Again, the two

Mike Mozart

cashiers looked up and cheerily greeted her.  She also returned the greeting.

I followed along behind her.  The two cashiers looked up then went back to their work without greeting me.

Next, a high school student entered the store.  The two cashiers looked up and cheerily greeted her.  She returned their greeting.

As a customer it is one thing to go unnoticed but it is another thing to be seen by employees and judged not worthy to greet.  That is exactly what happened to me that day.    The cashiers had not only looked at me and judged me not worthy of greeting. Adding insult to injury, the two customers in front of me and the one following me we all judged and deemed worthy of a greeting.

Teachable Moment

  • If your store policy is to greet customers when they enter your store, make sure they greet them.
  • Make sure they greet everyone, not just the ones they think are worthy.
  • Act consistently and predictable with your customers.

Paco Underhill reported in  Why We Buy that staff initiated contact can increase conversion rate by 50%.

It is simple, if you say hi, they will buy.  In spite of finding several things in the store that I had been looking for, I decided not to buy anything that day.

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