Losing One Customer At A Time

“It is our job to be in rapport, not the opposite” – Precision Selling, Frank Romano and Salmat.

For a month or more I have been juggling the idea about creating a blog and the value I could bring to the world wide web. Fearful of having nothing to say and wanting to avoid cluttering the internet I held my fingers… until an encounter today.

My girlfriend decided she wanted to browse one of the retailers as we walked down King street (Newtown, Australia) searching for lunch. With the annual Melbourne Cup horse racing only days away, it was important she had a new dress for “the race that stops the nation”. Newtown is filled with boutique retailers so sometimes it is difficult to find brand names you can trust and you may find yourself searching and searching and searching for the right item. I would expect more customers exit the stores in Newtown empty handed then made purchases.

We entered the female clothing store and was ‘greeted’ by two young female assistants who’s only interest on this warm Sunday was to talk about this massive night prior. We continued to browse the store and still the girls talked about their night and while I am not against employees talking, I am against a lack of acknowledgement.

After many discussions about acknowledgement it is safe to say that most people like their presence recognized (poll attached because I would love your opinion)

…but what we experienced went as follows. No eye contact, no greeting, no offer of assistance, no directions to the change room and certainly no up sell. The biggest clue I was given that these two girls have no idea was when my girlfriend was wearing one of the dresses and was looking for a belt to try on with it. The girls continued to stand their chatting (now about the cost of their car repairs) despite the belts being within an arms reach from them. Should I have been the one looking to make the purchase, I would have left. I would have left, never returned and told others about the poor level of service by the employed assistants.

The way we conduct our conversations will influence others perceptions.

What makes me sad is that this care free attitude is losing the business owner money and i highly doubt that they are aware. Putting a side that some customers would have left during the day without finding what they were after, if one of the girls up sold one belt at $20 each week they would bring in an extra $140. Sell one extra belt every day and that is an additional $7,000 that the owner could generate and invest into store upgrades, staff parties or incentives. Imagine the revenue if they sold just one more dress each day.

I guess where I want to go in my first entry is that if you are being paid $15-19 an hour to assist in a store it does not mean you can take the piss because your wage is guaranteed. A business does not go broke over night. A business goes broke by losing one customer at a time.



  1. Great first post, may i ask how old did these girls seem? i find that the younger they are the less they acknowledge me. i think the young workforce need training and HAVE to have a senior supervisor working with them..

  2. Hi Marcelo and thanks for the comment.

    My guess at the girls age would be between 18-21 years of age, however; I’ve found it a common attitude amongst people who work in retail and customer service. They hate they job but it keeps the cash flowing.

    If you wanted your business to run successfully you need yourself or someone with a similar skill set present at all times.

    1. I like to at least be acknowledged, I’m with you Anthony, I’d have left never to return! I’d try and get n touch with the owner or there head office, they need to know there staff are just chatting instead of working

  3. I personally hate it when they approach me. If I need their help, I’ll ask for it. Anything else just comes across as nagging me so they can get a sale.

  4. I like to be acknowledged. Nothing irritates me more then two sales assistants standing there having a chat and ignoring you, especially if it’s someone like me who has no idea about stuff like computers and audio and visual stuff. They get paid to provide a service.
    Dave prefers being ignored to an extent. On the weekend he was bitching about how he doesnt like having conversations with sales assistants (but thats because ususally they are trying to hit on him- my opinion not his lol)

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