Look This Customer In The Eye, And Tell Me You Haven’t Done This

Lack Of Eye Contact Hurts Your Business

We’ve all been there.

We find ourself in a retail store, with a question about an item we want to purchase. And for the next ten minutes, an amazing 12 staffers will pass by but somehow NOT make eye contact with you…

“How is it possible that he can walk by and stare at the damn ceiling,” you mumble to yourself.

Managers: Coach your people to actively seek eye contact with your customers!

Here are the likely responses you will have to make upon interacting with that customer:
“Oh, my pleasure. Glad to help.”
“Sure, you can find them over there.”
“Hmmm, I am not sure, but let me find the answer!”
“Yes, the bathrooms are right over there.”

Of course, there are times when you don’t want to be bothered. You want to be left alone to explore. Learn. Study. Research. Assess. And it is here that TODD doesn’t make eye contact. This means –> LEAVE ME ALONE. I am contemplating. And I might buy something…

But this notion of avoiding eye contact when I need you has to stop. When we notice this, here is what you are saying to the customer:
“I have no interest in talking to you. You are a pain in my ass. There are only 23 minutes until I can go home. I want to hide in the broom closet so I can text my significant other. So, how can I avoid interacting with you?”

Have you ever been out of wine when dining out, and you sit there, giving your waitress the vulture look from afar, waving your hands, and making the gutteral noises that are designed to attract attention of the waitress (who seems to be admiring the floor boards) without being noticed by the kind people one table over?

Yeah, I look and sound like a dork at that moment too…

Spend a weekend at a Ritz-Carlton property. You can bet those folks don’t avoid eye contact. Heck, if you aren’t careful, they might even give you a glass of champagne…

But seriously folks… Why is it so hard to interact with customers? Are we that bad? Are there enough bad apples that make you want to strain your neck looking the other way that in the end, you negatively impact my customer experience?

I believe this is something that has to be taught. Coached. Rewarded. But they also say hiring is a strategic marketing move, in that you can hire people who will do this, love this, find joy in interacting with customers.

Yeah, yeah, we are always talking about the little things here. But, avoiding me when I need you isn’t really a little thing now, is it? Keep it up, and I will start buying all of my crap online…

What do you think?


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[photo from flickr]

  • http://www.thetrainingfactor.com/ Jonathan Saar

    That drives me crazy too. Customer service is a lost art for some brands and due to a lack of continual training employees get super complacent. It all stems from a lack of corporate culture and a focus too much on sales and not people. Nice post Todd

  • Todd Schnick

    thanks man. in this day and age, i just don’t understand a lack of focus on this kind of training. boggles the mind…

    but then, nothing should surprise me these days…

    thanks for stopping by…