Recently I visited a large well-known grocery store near my home to renew my vehicle registration. A simple transaction – or so I thought. After receiving the customary “Next in line please.” summons, I advised the young lady of my reason for being there. Before she even asked, I gave her the information required to complete the transaction. She looked over my information and asked a question that I had trouble understanding because she was looking down at the paperwork instead of looking at me. I said “Excuse me, I didn’t understand what you just said.” She repeated what she said still without making eye contact to which I responded – “I’m up here, I’m having trouble understanding what you’re saying because you’re talking to the paperwork.” She then raised her head and repeated her question – this time with an offensive tone – “Cash, credit or debit card?” I advised her that this would be a debit transaction – no response from her. She stepped away, retrieved the registration sticker and stated “Go ahead and make your payment.” After doing so, she slapped the registration sticker and my verification documents on the counter. She then turned to walk away. I said “Excuse me, you’re welcome.” I repeated my statement as she continued to walk away. You can guess what happened next – I asked the other clerk if she could get the manager.
It’s important to maintain eye contact during face to face transactions. This is a basic human interaction principle as it’s important to make sure the other party feels valued as a person. In this case, making eye contact with your customer also makes it easier to be understood. Make sure that the customer receives a pleasant experience, especially during face to face contact, by self monitoring your actions. Making eye contact, using the correct voice tone and maintaining the proper body language can go a long in scoring points with your customer. By the way, on my way out of the store, the clerk and I crossed paths. She gave me this sullen look and I gave her my Secret Service stare.