August 13, 2010

Am I Invisible?

READY8 "There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else." ~ Sam Walton

AIM8 As we walked away from the check-out line, my 10 year-old son commented to me, “Mom, that lady didn’t even say hi to us or tell us good-bye or anything!” Yes, right out of the mouth of one of my babes. The ironic thing about his comment is that his observation is one of my biggest pet peeves – not being recognized by the cashier at the check-out line. Come on, am I invisible?

I have a HUGE awareness about being recognized by my cashier because I WAS a cashier. Being a cashier at a local grocery store was my first real job after I graduated from high school. Funny, I learned early on that if you’re nice to the customers and make them feel good about themselves (and you make a conscious effort to be fast and efficient at your job) your line will always be full and your work shift will be over sooner rather than later. You have a captive moment when it’s only you and the customer, so why not make it positive? Yes, I know, not everyone thinks that way. Unfortunately, it seems the vast majority of the cashiers in this world fail to recognize that they are the face, voice and final marketing seal for their employers. What a huge difference it would make if the cashiers made it their mission to make you feel appreciated for shopping at their store and choosing their line for your final transaction. I seek out cashiers I have had previous excellent service from because I want positive experiences for myself and my family. Nothing gets under my skin more than a couple of cashiers and bag boys, or even assistant managers, carrying on their own personal conversations while I, their valued customer, stand right in front of them listening when they should be conversing with ME…the person that’s contributing to their paychecks!! Again, am I invisible?

Sigh…as I step down off my soapbox, I have to admit, I have made it my personal mission to mentor those uninterested cashiers, even if they don’t realize it. As I approach my turn in the check-out line, I wait to allow the cashier to acknowledge me with a simple “hello” first. If she doesn’t say anything, I promptly say “Hi there!” in an attempt to interact with her while we have our one-on-one time together. If further conversation is warranted, I’ll gladly oblige. You never know what kind of an impact you’re going to make on someone’s day. If she does not announce my final total (indicating the end of our transaction), I will ask for confirmation of my total. Again, asking about the total allows for additional interaction with the cashier; not to mention, gives me a chance to get my payment ready. Finally, with receipt in hand, I pause allowing the cashier to give me a farewell comment. If nothing is said, I simply smile and say “Thank you. Have a great day!” Hopefully, I will at least get a “Thank you.” However, there seems to be a day when even “thank you” is difficult for cashiers to say and that’s where my comment could actually make or break their day. I make it my mission to turn their frown upside down. Plus, it helps keep me in a positive frame of mind instead of focusing on my less-than-stellar check-out experience.

FIRE!8 I challenge you to make it your personal mission to acknowledge your cashier if she does not acknowledge you first. Your positive attitude and simple “Hello” might be the very comment that changes her outlook on life that day; not to mention keeping your own good attitude in check.

Be Excellent!

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