Your front counter person makes a difference… Perhaps I am OCD about customer service. I spent 10 years working for a fabulous retail company that valued it above all else. I spent 11 years as the owner of a service-based company that recognized how important customer perspective is and that you need to sell an experience and not just a job. And as a business coach I encourage, extol and even require clients to provide an exceptional level of it to their prospects and clients.
Anyway…. I am going on a cruise and I wanted to get a spray tan before I go in order to not scare the little children with my amazingly bright white skin. So I ran into a tanning salon in a large shopping center near my home to make an appointment. It appeared there was only one person working the front counter (perhaps the entire store since I did not see or hear anyone else the entire time I was there). When I first walked in, the front counter person asked me what I was there for and I let her know I wanted to make an appointment for a spray tan. She smiled and said she’d be right with me. I waited patiently for her to sign in, bill, and instruct the person in front of me on how to use the tanning beds. It took at least 10 minutes to check in and help the person using the tanning bed… Then there was another person there to use a tanning bed who was obviously a regular based on the conversation and quickness of signing her in and simply directing her to which room was hers. After 15 minutes it was my turn! Great!
“We don’t make appointments for spray tans; we do it on a walk in basis only.”
Ummm…. was there a reason she didn’t say that 15 minutes ago when she asked why I was there? And since she appeared to be the only person working, I asked,
“Are there specific hours someone is here to do that?” I didn’t really get an answer, just a repeat that they take walk-ins only and that Thursday early evenings were the busiest time.
As a business coach I see the following in this scenario: The business was understaffed. They either could not or did not want to meet my desire for an appointment. The front counter person was not taught how to deal with this question in a positive manner. She was not trained to sell me on the value and benefits of their service that might outweigh my desire for an appointment (in fact, she didn’t tell me anything about their service). I felt dismissed and unimportant; I felt like she was more concerned with the person who came in after me than meeting my needs. If she took the same time that she did with the previous clients to discuss why I was there and what I wanted to achieve, chances are I would have been satisfied and happy to return as a walk-in. But I’m not.
Their front counter lost the sale. And I tend to be a loyal, long-term customer, so this business didnt lose a one-time sale; they lost multiple sales over years. So – someone else will be doing my spray tan. The salon across the street from this one. They take appointments and took the time to make sure I had all the information I needed for a successful spray tan experience. I’m paying more, but I don’t care. If their in-house service is as good as their phone service, I will be happy to pay it.