Posts Tagged ‘greeting’

The Budget Friendly Customer

October 11, 2011

Although there are jobs with commission–with customers who have admittedly deep-pockets–and other jobs which congratulate or reward employees with huge sales, there is an underlying truth which isn’t always discussed. You see, greeting customers is a random process, not as hard as winning the lottery, but roughly the same idea. You don’t know, when you walk up to a customer if they’re going to be rude, crude, and brusque–well sometimes you actually do. In any case, you also don’t know when you walk up to a customer if they’ll be money-bags or moth-balls–well sometimes you actually do.

So what’s the point? Even if you are a great salesperson, and you get a customer to spend their entire budget–let’s use¬†percentiles–so 100% of their available budget. If the customer has $1000 to spend, than you’ve made some good money. ¬†(Of course, if you make 3% commission on a $1000 sale, that’ s just $30, so you better get on with the selling!) Yet, if a customer only has a budget of $200, then you may or may not consider them cheap compared to the $1000 customer. If their budget is less than $100, then surely you’d be silently spitting upon them, right? This is the point, you can’t gauge the budget of a customer, you don’t know how much money they actually have to spend. So when you pat yourself on the back because you were able to make the customer spend $500, is that because of your skill or because it’s well within their budget?

I think it would make more sense if you consider a customer’s total budget, and how far into that budget you’re able to hit. because you can’t get a customer to spend $500 if they only have $200. If you get a customer with a budget of $1000 to spend $500, and you get a customer with $200 to spend the entire $200–which customer have you truly capitalized upon? Although I believe acknowledging sellers who hit high numbers, I also think we need to take into consideration if they just randomly hit the jackpot, or just ran into a customer who had a lot of money, and they just barely skimmed the edge of that budget.

I bring this up because of the power of money in retail. It makes the customers look at salespeople like they’re only worth as much as money is spent, but the same can be said about salespeople towards customers. In all reality, there is some respect to be found. There are some salespeople who find out how much their customers are able to spend, and help them work through that amount. This definitely takes a great deal of skill, because can you really help a customer find an outfit for less than $100? It’s ridiculously easy if they’re willing to spend $500. So just where does your skill really lay? Does it matter you can make huge sales? Or are you just ‘lucky’?

How a Store Stays Open

October 19, 2010

This might be redundant, but that’s okay, I don’t mind. I, the salesperson, have recently been relegated to the cash registers for most of my shifts. I, in turn, go to sleep and wake up with a sore back and tense irritation. I, now, have to stand tied to the registers, because I can only go so far before I have to run back, saying, “I’ll be right there.” I have to watch my coworkers either selling or not selling, while stuck at my most disliked place in the store.

This is okay on days when I have a strong seller to replace my presence on the sales floor. There are some people who can make massive sales, beyond even my capacity–people who understand how a store stays open. How? Well, we can consider the other people I must watch from my perch. These people are folding, making the store pretty, maintaining sizes, etc. (Sometimes, it’s okay, when the store manager orders it, because whose to disagree with the store manager?) Yet, tied to the register, I try to help people, try to send them to the fitting rooms, try to see how they’re doing. While I hear the folders say, “Yeah, take any room,” while standing by their pile barely giving notice to the customers.

How does a store stay open? Is it because you make everything pretty, does that make people want to buy your merchandise? If you say yes, then never, ever open your own retail store. Ever. It is the act of selling, finding what someone is looking for–even if they don’t know they’re looking for it. It is the act of placing clothes in their hand, being a sales person–what do you think that means? A salesperson is a folder? Yeah, right. I think not. Even if you spend all your time making the store as beautiful and folded as possible, that does nothing.

Customers are here to shop, the purpose of a salesperson is to move the merchandise so you don’t need to fold it anymore. If it’s sold, it can’t be folded. If it’s sold, that’s money in the bank. The longer it remains unsold, the longer we have to keep folding it, and the more money is wasted on rent, pay, etc. I mean seriously, beautiful folding isn’t going to pay a single bill.

What makes it harder for me is the fact I know each sale contributes not only to the store, but to the hours each coworker has to work, each paycheck they get back. And I look at people who are ignoring customers, who have the freedom to speak to every customer, to offer them help, and instead, I see them touching clothes. When I am on the floor, I greet every single customer–rude or not–and you understand why I get so many horrible people, because I actually do talk to everyone. I want everyone to find something, even if they only spend $10, that’s far more than nothing.

I have tension and irritation, because I don’t know what I’m surrounded by anymore. I don’t know if it’s colleagues or competitors, because some people are working real hard to make sure other people have no hours, so the store makes no money, and helps people lose jobs, especially when the economy is already so bad.

Making a Boner

June 24, 2010

Each Christmas season I’ve worked at my store, I’ve seen some rather interesting characters pop-up out of the shadows of the retail dungeon. From guys with their butt-cracks showing to turtle-turtle boys, but there was one guy who comes to mind recently, because¬† of all the language barriers I’ve seen.

Mind you, he was recommended by a coworker who probably rues the day he did any such thing as bring this guy to work with us. He was a very strange man. When standing in the fitting room, and people would enter with a handful of clothes, he’d welcome them saying, “Can I help you with anything?” Not, “Do you need a room,” or “I have a perfect room for you.” He’d often get the reply, “Um, I need a room?”

He had a particular smell about him, like unwashed body odor. One moment I remember best is when he was sweaty, very sweaty, and he was also holding a pile of clothes. Do you think he put the clothes down to wipe his face? Oh, no, no, perish forbid the thought! He just plopped his face down into the shirts and rubbed his face in them. Refreshed, he was able to continue putting out his clothes. Wonderful!

Of all the weird, absentminded things he did, not including having a loud, verbal political argument about our current President in the middle of the sales floor with customers; there was a time customers from Tahiti came in. Yes, they are known as a part of French Polynesia, where French colonizers washed over and left many of them with the national language of French. They entered the store, greeted by him, and he asks where they are visiting from, “Tahiti.” Oh, they would also rue the day they revealed that fact. “Ah, bon jour, bon jour,” he started to pull out his French vocabulary, which sounded mostly like things you pick up watching French movies and listening to a certain song including, “Couche avec moi?”

As he followed them around, mostly unwillingly on the customers part, he kept speaking in this version of French, and they would routinely yell at him, “We don’t speak French! Leave us alone!” This continued, until the women said, “Okay, this is enough, let’s just leave.” As they left, he went right up to the doors, waving and yelling at them, “Au revoir! Au revoir!” And I could hear the women screaming at him, “You asshole, we don’t speak French!”

Eighth-of-an-Inch

June 17, 2010

At the rear entrance of our store, there is a carpet which has been worn away slowly over time. The carpet was built into the floor, so now there is a ridge roughly 1/8″ (an eighth of an inch) at the edge. The ridge is no larger than a normal street crack, but one day I had to find out how terrifying this is.

I hear a lot of commotion on the walkie-talkie. “Oh my, someone just fell!” “There’s an old lady on the ground?” “Where is she?” “At the back door, someone is on the ground?” “Is she okay? Is she moving?” “Do we need to call an ambulance?” I arrived, to find an ancient woman shrunken by time, with a beanie on her head. Her youthful daughter looked to be about sixty-years old, which would make her mother anywhere between seventy-five and one-thousand. Along with our stock supervisor, they helped to get her up, and had a seat placed for her to recover. There the old, old woman sat staring out the back-door entrance–so each customer coming in had to be greeted by that. So she sat, hunched and unmoving, people walking around her like a statue, as the daughter yelled at the supervisor.

“What is wrong with you people? That’s dangerous!” She points at the ridge.
“I am so sorry,” my supervisor states, doing all the things he’s trained ‘not to say’, “It is our fault. I’m so sorry, what can we do to help her? What does she need? Should be call an ambulance?”
“No,” the daughter continues, “That’s not needed, she just needs to rest. You need to get that fixed! Now! She could have died!”

They continue this ridiculous banter, as I chuckle nearby behind a pillar. Seriously, when you’re that old, and you can’t even lift your foot off the ground, you need a wheelchair, or better yet, don’t leave the house to visit the hectic mall. Remember the good old days, when you used to be able to walk miles to school over rock, gravel and shards of glass while hailstones flew at your head? Well those days are long over. I’d hate to watch you tripping over cracks in the ground, because that’s far more dangerous out there. I’m surprised she didn’t explode into a pile of dust when she hit the floor. Seriously? Leave her at home.

Thirty-minutes later, the old woman gets up with her obviously useful cane, and begins to walk away. Her feet don’t even leave the ground, they just slide across the floor. She must be very good at cleaning dust off the floors, like that video I’ve seen of a dog used as a mop. I actually don’t know how she even walks on the sidewalk. It takes a while for her to leave the store, as she slides one foot six-inches, then the other six-inches more. Yes, definitely, leave her at home next time.

Customer Type: Big Baby, The Complainer, Don’t Kill the Messenger, Lowered Expectations

Shoplifter- Rule #1

May 14, 2010

The first rule I tell anyone I train, “Treat everyone like a shoplifter.” Before you back away and gasp in surprise, you need to understand how we treat a shoplifter. We pay attention to them, we notice what they’re looking at, offering suggestions so they know we’re there, we’re available. No matter where they look, they can always see us. How is that not great customer service?

I don’t just say hello to customers that come in, I watch what they look at, this way I get an idea of what they want, what they are shopping for. I generally ask if they need another size, but I also offer other alternatives, too. Whenever they hold something, I ask if I can put it aside in a fitting room or at the registers for them.

Some customers are utterly amazed when they walk into the fitting room and I ask, “I saw you looking through the pants at the front of the store, I see you didn’t find your size, did you want me to check if we have it?”
“How did you even see from here?”
I laugh, “I see everything, it’s okay.”

This is how you should treat every customer, because anyone could be a shoplifter. This is how you should treat every shoplifter, because anyone could just be a customer.

Hello, Welcome! The 7-Point System

April 27, 2010

I have developed a 7-point system for greeting responses, when you’re a ‘Greeter’ and customers walk into the store.

7 – When they smile and say hello back.
[This is obviously the response of choice, because these people were raised as decent, respectable human beings, and most likely, their children will also be encouraged to say, “Hello!” *Waves*]

6 – When they give you a fake hello as if it strains them to take the time to say it.
[I guess this is fine, but it’s still like asking, “Why are you even saying hi if it’s such a drain on you?” I actually greet people because it’s what I’d want, and I don’t do it because I ‘have to’. I even do it when I’m not working sometimes, which is crazy. One of my co-workers did that at another store, when he was greeted, he replied, “Hey, how are you doing?” It totally sounded like he was hitting on the other person.]

5 – When they walk by, and then turn soon after to look at you.
[I don’t ever understand this, as if they’re making sure someone was saying hello? What do expect someone to say when you walk into a store, “Go home”? Maybe these people are just seeing who you were, because they might want to ask you for help later–which I hate, when people ignore you, then ask you for help later. Learn some manners people, you get help when you deserve help. I’m far more helpful, knowledgeable, and intelligent when I’m helping a customer that’s not rude. If you’re rude, it suddenly becomes my first week and I don’t know anything. “Sorry.”]

4 – When they full-on ignore you, which is a middle score since, sometimes you just aren’t heard, sometimes they do it on purpose.
[I can’t say much for this, but it’s far better than any other response, except than the genuine response of hello.]

3 – They stare at you and say nothing.
[Wow, some people have such nerve, they can actually just stare at you when you say hello. And then they walk away. Who teaches them these things? I can also assure you, their children will also stare at you and walk away, and those people’s children will do exactly the same one day. I always say, these people, their parents need some lessons on manners and social etiquette. Spank them with a wet noodle, as my old teacher used to say.]

2 – They look you up and down judging you, and still say nothing.
[Wow but times one-thousand. Seriously, how people get the idea this is right to do blows my mind. In public, if anyone does this to me, I will respond with a, “Yes?” And depending on my mood, I get more interactive. Some comments include criticizing their outfit, how they look, and their right to look at people like that. Of course, when I’m at work, I just avoid them, hoping they need help, because they won’t find it from one of the most knowledgeable and helpful salespeople–because they offended him.]

1 – They wave you away like you’re bothering them.
[Yes, this is also an option in the world of social interaction. They give you the “Don’t bother me, I’m not interested, I’m just looking” wave. You come into someone’s place of business, you make clear you don’t want help. I’m quite sure you become someone who says no one was willing to help you either, right? Manners are a two-way road, people. You are a customer, you aren’t God, you aren’t even commander-in-chief. Actually, you’re just a human being in a world of human beings who consciously make decisions to choose how respectable they are with one-another. Can you imagine a world where everyone decided to be respectable to each other? Don’t laugh, it is a dream of mine.]

Either way, it would be fun to hear co-workers say, “Ooh, I just got a 1-point greeting! Sad face!” Yes, it is a sad face, you stamp it on the entire world. The End.

Hello, Welcome! The 7-Point System

I have developed a 7-point system for greeting responses, when you’re a

‘greeter’ and customers walk into the store.

7 – When they smile and say hello back.
[This is obviously the response of choice, because these people were raised as

decent, respectable human beings, and most likely, their children will also be

encouraged to say, “Hello!” *Waves*]

6 – When they give you a fake hello as if it strains them to take the time to

say it.
[I guess this is fine, but it’s still like asking, “Why are you even saying hi

if it’s such a drain on you?” I actually greet people because it’s what I’d

want, and I don’t do it because I ‘have to’. I even do it when I’m not working

sometimes, which is crazy. One of my co-workers did that at another store,

when he was greeted, he replied, “Hey, how are you doing?” It totally sounded

like he was hitting on the other person.]

5 – When they walk by, and then turn soon after to look at you.
[I don’t ever understand this, as if they’re making sure someone was saying

hello? What do expect someone to say when you walk into a store, “Go home”? Maybe these people are just seeing who you were, because they might want to ask you for help later–which I hate, when people ignore you, then ask you for help later. Learn some manners people, you get help when you deserve help. I’m far more helpful, knowledgeable, and intelligent when I’m helping a customer that’s not rude. If you’re rude, it suddenly becomes my first week and I don’t know anything. “Sorry.”]

4 – When they full-on ignore you, which is a middle score since, sometimes you

just aren’t heard, sometimes they do it on purpose. [I can’t say much for

this, but it’s far better than any other response, except than the genuine

response of hello.]

3 – They stare at you and say nothing. [Wow, some people have such nerve, they

can actually just stare at you when you say hello. And then they walk away.

Who teaches them these things? I can also assure you, their children will also

stare at you and walk away, and those people’s children will do exactly the

same one day. I always say, these people, their parents need some lessons on

manners and social etiquette. Spank them with a wet noodle, as my old teacher used to say.]

2 – They look you up and down judging you, and still say nothing. [Wow but times one-thousand. Seriously, how people get the idea this is right to do blows my mind. In public, if anyone does this to me, I will respond with a, “Yes?” And depending on my mood, I get more interactive. Some comments include

criticizing their outfit, how they look, and their right to look at people like that. Of course, when I’m at work, I just avoid them, hoping they need help, because they won’t find it from one of the most knowlegeable and helpful

salespeople–because they offended him.]

1 – They wave you away like you’re bothering them. [Yes, this is also an

option in the world of social interaction. They give you the “Don’t bother me,

I’m not interested, I’m just looking” wave. You come into someone’s place of

business, you make clear you don’t want help. I’m quite sure you become

someone who says no one was willing to help you either, right? Manners are a

two-way road, people. You are a customer, you aren’t God, you aren’t even

commander-in-chief. Actually, you’re just a human being in a world of human

beings who consciously make decisions to choose how respectable they are with

one-another. Can you imagine a world where everyone decided to be respectable

to each other? Don’t laugh, it is a dream of mine.]

Either way, it would be fun to hear co-workers say, “Oooh, I just got a 1-

point greeting! Sad face!” Yes, it is a sad face, you stamp it on the entire

world. The End.

Teaching the Kids

February 16, 2010

Do parent’s know their children watch them, witnessing how they interact with other people in different situations thus developing an understanding of how they will eventually interact with the world when they grow up?

When parents walk into a store, ignoring a kind hello with a cold-shoulder, their children see this and they’re learning; when a sales person offers them help, when they are obviously looking for something, and they are rudely brushed off with “I’m just looking” even though they actually do need help; when parents treat salespeople as slaves, only existing when you need them, and essentially less than human, just mobile fixtures in a store, only useful when you acknowledge them and need something only a salesperson can ‘find’ for you–your children are there watching every moment, growing and understanding that is how they should act, that is how they should treat other people, acting like this is right not wrong. Treating another human being like garbage is fine, because mommy and daddy do it all the time. Yes, you are obviously a good parent. They say parenting doesn’t come with a book, well common-sense doesn’t grow on trees either.

One day, these children will be adults, pushing their strollers through stores treating sales people in the exact same way, passing on these valuable, unconscious lessons to their offspring so that your grandchildren will be rude, unconscionable human beings. Do you not think these lessons are passed on beyond the retail world? Do you not realize you set a bar for how people can be treated? You may not be hitting or abusing them, but treating them like they’re worthless is still terrible parenting. From what I know from social teachings to religious beliefs, human beings are important, special, unique, etc. but the way we have developed our meandering society which belittles being human based on ridiculous situations based entirely on monetary value, not human value.

This is a perpetuation of a lack of respect, a rudeness which makes no sense. You wouldn’t walk into a doctor’s office acting the same way, walking into a bank treating tellers like this, yet certain sectors of the ‘service’ industry have grown and developed into an accepted avenue where mistreatment and degradation is a norm, is accepted and expected–that treating someone like they don’t exist, that they are less than human, that they only exist to serve you–this is good, this is right, and this is okay.

The customer is always right. No, I’m just looking, can I shove my hand in your face? If I meet you outside the store, then you, salesperson, are an equal, a human being, you exist and you are real, but once you clock into work, you’re worthless, insignificant, invisible, and useless, unless I need you. If I meet you outside the store, how many of your rude, disgusting humans look away or pretend you don’t recognize me, when your reaction says you do? Compare this to kind, good, respectful customers who engage with sales people, talking to them. We actually recognize each other outside the store, wave, and say hello. This is a huge difference, almost a revelation of what it would be like if everyone treated people like human beings and not modern-day slaves.

Remember that son. Remember that daughter. Look both ways before you cross the street. Don’t talk to strangers. Salespeople are modern-day slaves, you don’t need to give them any respect.

Because you know, if you did give them respect, then the entire structure of sales and retail would be worthwhile, enjoyable, and not as much of a life-draining, self-esteem crushing, pride-absorbing industry that makes you feel so shitty inside. If you actually went into a retail store and treated people as human beings, what a difference you’d make; what a difference everyone would make.

Remember, it’s so simple to just say hello when someone greets you, your children are watching.