BrainTrust Query: Multitasking On the Retail Sales Floor
Through a special arrangement, presented here for discussion is a summary of an article from the Retail Doctor’s blog.
Customers aren’t willing to wait for an employee to get around to noticing them. And they shouldn’t be. It takes a lot for customers to get in a car and visit a brick & mortar store only to be given the cold shoulder because and employee could only deal with one customer at a time.
I had a business owner tell me that he had "a really great gal but she spends about 1/2 hour with each customer." I thought, that’s not a really great gal if she can only wait on 16 people in a day.
Here are five tips on how to train employees to hustle:
- Ask permission from the first customer.
- Greet the other customer.
- Get back to the first person quickly and thank them for waiting.
- Restate where they were in the sale.
- Confirm they got it right.
… all the while not rushing anyone.
If a salesperson is with someone else when a customer comes in, they should say, "Excuse me, do you mind if I go greet that customer? I’ll be right back." They should wait for permission before they greet the new customer. If you can have the customer read something or put a product in their hands before leaving, so much the better.
When the employee returns to the original customer they must say, "Thank you for waiting," and restate where they were in the sale. For example, in a toy store it might be, "So we were looking for a toy for your son who likes art but hates clay. Is that right?"
It’s important the employee does not say to the current customer, "Hold on, I need to go greet them" or yell, "Someone will be right with you" to the new arrival.
Slow sales have led to complacency in many retailers. More employees behind the counter. More dismissive expressions — "They’re just looking." Don’t let your employees get away with being more comfortable with only one person; train now how to juggle many customers. Otherwise, that one person will buy, but the majority who try your store, especially when it’s busy, will walk out because they were ignored. And in this retail environment, never be back.
Discussion Questions: Based on your own observations/knowledge, would you say the incidence of store associates having to manage multiple customers at the same time is on the rise or decline at retail? What tips would you have for store associates who have to handle multiple customers at one time?