Make sure your customers don’t feel neglected while waiting

IN KEEPING with the theme of making 2014 the Year of the Customer, I thought I'd share a few tips to delight your clients over the coming week.

Let's assume you've dealt with your business presentation, including what the customers see before they even enter, because that is really the first step (unless your business conducts over the phone or web - a whole other set of key points).

So what's the next step? The "meet and greet".

As a customer, time drags when you're waiting to be noticed.

Studies have shown that when a customer is kept waiting they often feel they have waited much longer than they actually have.

I'm sure you've often heard - or thought - "I've been waiting for 10 minutes" when it's probably closer to 60 seconds.

So what can we do as business owners? Train your staff so they never leave a customer waiting.

If they are busy with another customer, ask them to immediately acknowledge the waiting customer with a nod and the words, "I'll be with you in just a moment".

Of course, modern rostering systems that talk to your point of sale will help you roster ample staff for busy periods.

It may be an idea to have a treat, tea and coffee, reading material, etc, if there looks to be an extended waiting period.

Train your team so all customers are greeted within 10 seconds of entering.

Next point in the meet and greet is making eye contact with your customers promptly.

This will tell them a lot about your willingness to serve them.

A five- to 10-second glance is all that is needed. Careful, though, because any longer might be considered staring and could spook them.

Correct eye contact is a skill.

Have your staff practise ensuring they only maintain eye contact for an appropriate time and, yes, have some fun with this.

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