Christmas is a great time of year… the weather is getting warmer, people are enjoying a well deserved break, kids have school holidays and, of course, the giving of gifts. Obviously most of these gifts are purchased from local stores so it is a great opportunity for our small businesses in the region to show their customers what a great experience it is to deal with them, and to get them coming back time and time again.

It is interesting to note however that research has shown that 7 out 10 customers won’t come back to a store because of perceived indifference. That is – the customer did not feel that the business really cared whether they shopped with them or not.

Just recently, at a local store, my wife and I got to understand what perceived indifference is. Walking up to the cash register the store person turned her back on us and walked over to the other cash register and assisted another store employee with his query. He suggested to her that she serve us first as there was no-one waiting with him, but she insisted that we could wait. When she came over to serve us she continued her conversation with the other store employee, complaining about another customer! We certainly had an experience, but one we do not want to experience again.

A couple of days later my wife and daughter once again experienced perceived indifference in another store. The store was void of customers until they walked in, however no acknowledgement or assistance was offered as they browsed through the store. The employees made them feel unworthy of service and that their presence was inconvenient and interrupting them. Hence no sale for that store (saved me a couple of dollars though!!!).

These two experiences are however contrary to the great service we received when out for dinner for our wedding anniversary.

It was a Sunday night and the restaurant was fully booked, nevertheless the customer service was excellent and it was a wonderful experience we would enjoy again. Looking back on this evening however, although the food was very good, the excellent service made it taste even more exceptional at the time. By simply offering exceptional customer service this business differentiated themselves from the rest.

In today’s society where retail sales are becoming more and more internet-based, it is baffling to come across stores who still don’t realise the importance of good customer service and the training of employees in this area. Please do not let your Christmas business sales decline due to perceived indifference! Help your team to realise the importance of making each and every customer feel important and significant!


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