‘Thank you’ is still in style

11/28/2012 5:17 PM

11/28/2012 5:20 PM

Editor’s note: The following editorial appeared Monday in the Lake Wylie Pilot:

The peak shopping season is upon us. Success is important to the health of our economy, so it’s important to ensure robust holiday sales.

Good customer service may boost sales and produce return visits to merchants. Yet we find some employees are oblivious to the techniques that make customers enjoy their buying experience and return time and again.

Saying “Thank you” seems to be a lost art. Some sales people say instead, “There you go,” to the departing customer. Unfortunately, the customer may indeed be going – and not coming back.

Other substitutes for “Thank you” are “Have a good day” or “Have a blessed day.”

The polite customer may then be the one saying, “Thank you” out of habit, but it doesn’t help that no thanks were proffered by the merchant’s employee.

Why is it appropriate to thank a customer for a purchase? The buyer has spent his or her money and might have made a choice to enter that particular store over another one.

Then there’s the “invisible customer.”

Some sales associates carry on conversations with colleagues, leaving the customer standing awkwardly and feeling invisible.

Some wait staff in restaurants seem unable to see customers trying to get their attention or indicating they want their check.

Another turnoff for customers is the salesperson who answers a telephone call on an obviously personal matter, leaving the customer standing by. Or putting the customer in the store “on hold,” to answer and handle a phone call.

We won’t even get into being rude to customers – period.

What’s the solution? Training seems to matter. Sales associates educated on products and services and paying attention to customers, with a smile, seems simple enough.

Of course, this is a season when many new, temporary and part-time employees are hired. Well-trained employees may seem like a luxury to harried managers, but the payoff may be well worth the investment.

And as for consumers. Be courteous, be patient and remember to smile. Remember, it’s about having a happy holiday.

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