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When it comes to customer interactions, we’ve all heard the advice before: smile, be polite, make eye contact, etc.

Pretty basic, yes, but when you stop to think about it, how you or your employees carry yourselves in front of potential customers is critical. If your shop is appealing enough visually to get someone through the doors and in front of your staff, that first interaction is likely what will make or break a sale. 

I started thinking about this topic after a recent visit to a local bike shop. I stopped in simply to buy a helmet for my son, found one easily enough, went to the counter, and encountered complete dysfunction. Customers were standing around in no particular order, and though there were more than enough employees to man the three registers, they opted to rely on one confused individual to handle the glut.

The place operated like a crowded bar on a Saturday night, when the only way to get service is to find your way to the front of the counter and yell at the bartender, or maybe wave some cash around. One customer who arrived after me apparently knew the drill—he managed to get served before I held my helmet up and finally gained the attention of an employee, who brought me to one of the vacant registers.

This scenario might not offer the best lesson, because I bought the helmet, but do you think I’ll be back to that store? Do you think I’ll recommend it to a friend? All the place needed to do was acknowledge my presence, tell me they’d be with me as soon as possible, and keep customers in the order in which they arrived. Pretty simple stuff.

Showing customers that you truly care about earning their business, that you’re glad they chose to visit your shop, should be the norm. That initial interaction, followed by great service, will win you customers for life.

Jake Weyer

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