We have all been there. Walking by a playground, a college campus, a beach or schoolyard, when we hear the call’ “A little help?”
We all know how to respond. We immediately search the area for an errant ball or frisbee that needs to be returned to the person asking for help. Finding the lost item, we toss, throw flip or kick it back to the owner hopefully with some accuracy.
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.
I saw the two of them square off – the salesperson and the customer, the adversary and their opponent. Even though I have seen this subtle encounter many times before, I never pass up a chance to watch. For the Dance was about to begin.
What is the Dance? It is the name that I gave to the movement that salespeople and their customers go through trying to find a comfortable place and distance to interact.
Typically when two people talk, they stand approximately an arms distance away from one another. If they are close friends, they may stand closer. If there is a power differential between them, the person with less power may stand a bit further away. The distance is never discussed by the talkers but rather it is set as the two talkers position themselves.
Door handles of the DQ Grill & Chill in Bend, OR
Almost as iconic as the trademarked curl on the top of their cones is Dairy Queen’s red spoon.
It is a stroke of branding genius that DQ restaurants are beginning to adorn their stores with oversized red spoon as door pulls. This photo was taken last weekend in Bend OR. I always appreciate themed door pulls at specialty stores. The pulls are a great way to create a positive customer impression!
You do not have to take my word for it. The red spoon door pulls were featured in LockNet, the website about doors and locks for businesses. See link below.
I stopped in national chain store at the mall the other day, drawn in by the signs in by the many promotional signs in the window.
Standing near the front of the store, an employee was working with a customer as a smiling manager approached. Without so much as an introduction, the manager asked the customer, “Did he mention the sales going on?”
“Not yet,” responded the somewhat bewildered customer.
Turning to the employee, the manager continued, “I can’t believe you haven’t mentioned the promotions even after our huddle this morning. Jesus!”
At this point, I didn’t want to see any more and left the store. I think the customer was thinking the same thing.
This is a sign that retailers in Portland, Oregon are posting on their doors. It is their attempt to give stability in these less than stable times. It is not about politics but about customers. Well done.
EXPERT – Someone having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience.
This is the first in a four-part series on dealing with experts in your retail store from several different perspectives. For the sake of these posts, when I refer to an expert I am referring to someone who has advantaged knowledge or experience about the products being sold and their usage. Today’s perspective is dealing with a customer that is an expert.
I was doing a little research today and I ran across an image that caught my eye. Digging a bit further, I discovered the image source was from Keep Calm-o-matic.
The Keep Calm-o-Matic is the place to express your creativity, dreams and imagination. You can create, discover and shop.
They make a variety of customizable products based on the WWII poster used throughout England to encourage their citizens to carry on in spite of the rocket attacks and bombings from the Nazis. (The website is so easy and engaging I bought a customized poster and a coffee mug and I do not even drink coffee.) See for yourself at http://www.keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk
(Observed in the CityTarget in Portland yesterday)
The customer offered a heartfelt, “Thank you.”
The cashier stopped. Smiled. Then replied “You are most welcome!”
Well done. Slowing down for just a moment in this busy season demonstrated the employees sincerity.
Several years ago, I saw a fascinating TV show on retailing. If my memory serves me correctly, it was called Buyology. One of the most interesting segments reported on the stress of shopping and Holiday shopping especially.
When you are under significant stress, the body creates the steroid, cortisol, to help you deal with the situation. It is your body’s chemical behind the “fight or flight” mechanism.
Another characteristic of cortisol is that you can test a person’s cortisol level using a simple oral swab, so researchers went out and swabbed people’s mouths during stressful events to measure the stress caused by certain events.
The researchers tested combat pilots; it seems they have high stress levels in when being shot at. (Only a governmental program would spend a lot of money to find that result.) They also tested Holiday shoppers at a major mall the weekend before Christmas.