The wrong time for a conversation

✋ Raise your hand if you ever had to wait to be served as a customer because the cashiers were distracted and chatting to each other.

How did that make you feel? 

I personally feel ignored what is happens, and I find it super irritating especially if I’m in a rush. Last time it happened I was at the airport waiting to check-in for my flight (there was an issue with the airline website and I couldn’t check-in online), and I was late!
I immediately thought that the employees didn’t really care about me. 

That’s exactly how your customers feel if you are talking to your colleagues when they are waiting to be served: ignored and neglected.

This could lead to:

  • Customers leaving and purchasing somewhere else (and maybe never coming back to buy from you)
  • Customers being irritated and making the interaction difficult or unpleasant
  • Customers asking to speak to a manager or supervisor to complain

You don’t want any of the above to happen, so here is what you should do:

  1. If you are having a personal conversation you should stop as soon as a customer arrives and give your full attention to them. Customers will feel respected and important.
  2. If what you are saying to your colleague is something important and work related (and it can not wait) acknowledge the waiting customer before finishing your conversation.
    You can use eye contact, a smile, and say something like <I will be with you shortly> or <I will assist you in a moment>. They will know you noticed them, and won’t feel ignored.
  3. Engaging with colleagues at work is great and it should always be encouraged, but remember that customers are your number 1 priority and they have to be your primary focus when they are around.

PS: If you want to build a stronger rapport with your customers here are 6 things you can do.

Credit: Photo by Pavel Danilyuk