I stopped in a local lunch spot recently with a group of friends after attending a funeral. The place we chose has a convenient location, good food, and underwhelmed employees. Their menu is posted above the counter and is quite lovely artistically, but hard to follow if you’re not familiar with it, have vision problems, or your mental acuity is diminished by recent events.
I stepped up to order and verbally fumbled as I tried to decipher my selection. I asked what the quiche options were and the clerk sighed, took a step back, raised his arm like a disappointed Vanna White, and pointed to the three offerings as he read them aloud to me.
Feeling even more defeated than when I walked in, I venomously noted his effort with, “Oh, thank you for the clarification…” and opted for a salad. Two of my gang were chortling since they can recognize sarcasm and were anxious to see what the next salvo would be. I refrained, got my beverage, and headed to our table where, of course, my negative story was relayed to our crew. Our next gathering will be elsewhere.
Customers are an ignorant bunch. They have no idea what you do, how you do it, or what you expect from them. Even though you know your menu of products or services by heart, your customer may have trouble deciphering it. They may need your guidance. They may have had a bad day and just need a little compassion to get on your wavelength.
In every instance, focusing on your customer will pay off for you. Start by making eye contact and giving them your full attention. Listen carefully to their questions and notice their reactions to your responses. A little patience and kindness will boost your bottom line and expand your reputation positively.