TIP 9: Go and Hide When a Customer Arrives.

Hide and seek, not just for kids anymore.

Negative Ned Says…

Ned Hiding From Behind a Door

“If they can’t see me, they can’t bug me. I don’t need to take care of another headache. Let someone else carry the load for once. Let ’em wait. Anyway, they don’t want me to bother them while they’re shopping. Besides, that woman with the red coat looks really grouchy. She can go wait on herself!”

Positive Paul Says…

Positive Paul

“The first 30 seconds determine whether a sale will be made or not. Customers want service and they want it now! They want to be thanked for their time and helped as quickly as possible. They may be willing to seek out help and wait in a long line the first time, but the next time they need something, they’ll go to your competitor.

You can make customers feel welcome by acknowledging their presence immediately. It lets them know you are aware of their needs. Even if you’re busy with another customer or task, glance up, make eye contact and smile. Then give them the one-minute sign using the polite finger, and resume your work.

Sam Walton makes a good point, ‘Are your customers greeted when they walk in the door—or at least within 30–40 seconds upon entering? Is it possible they could come in, look around, and go out without ever having their presence acknowledged?’

Isn’t it funny that it took a discount merchant known for price, not service, to teach others the importance of greeting customers at the door? Sam Walton knew that this simple, but important, gesture showed customers that they were respected. It acknowledged customers by letting them know that they were appreciated just for coming in.”

A Real World Example

Some companies have noticeably improved their customer service. Previously, when I went to Home Depot, it was tough to find anyone to help me, and when I finally found someone, they usually mumbled, “Aisle 9” then took off.  It could take an hour and a half to find a hammer. If you wanted a hammer and a light bulb, you could be there all day. However, in the last year, I’ve noticed quite a positive change in their employee behavior. I’ll never forget the first time I experienced it. It was a Wednesday morning, and I was on a mission to buy 15 different cleaning supplies. I was dreading this shopping trip because I wasn’t looking forward to spending all day in the store. As soon as I entered, however, I was greeted by an employee wearing bright orange garb who asked, “Can I help you find something?”  I was immediately stunned. I stopped and looked around to see if he was really talking to me. After confirming that he was indeed talking to me, I ran over to him with my list and started reading off my items – at an extremely fast pace. I just didn’t want him to leave. He laughed, paused, then called over a man named Steve to help me. Steve was awesome. Not only did he help me find the items he was familiar with, but he took me to another employee who helped me with the rest of my list. He never left my side. I was out of the store in less than 30 minutes, and I have since become an extremely loyal customer. “Thanks Home Depot –  you’re awesome.”

Moral to the story: If a customer needs help and starts rattling off her list at a million miles an hour, stay calm and help her find her items. She will become a very loyal customer. And she just may write about you in her book…

Strategies to Turn This Around

Greet customers without delay.

  1. Greet customers within 30–40 seconds of their arrival.
  2. If there’s a long line, acknowledge your customers immediately after they enter your line, verbally or nonverbally.


Remember: The first 30 seconds of a transaction will determine whether you make a sale or not!

“Be friendly to everyone. Those who deserve it the least need it the most.”

— Bo Bennett

© 2012 by Barbara Khozam Inc. All rights reserved. No part of this message may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without written permission of the publisher.

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