Have you noticed the disappearance of “thank you” in retail transactions? I hardly hear it anymore when I finish at a checkout counter – unless I’m the one who says it.
"Thank you" has been replaced by phrases like, “Have a nice day,” a nice thought but one that can be expressed at any time. It is not unique to the end of a transaction like “thank you” is. Of course, there is no reason the two can’t be used in combination, but they usually aren’t.
Another phrase I hear all the time is, “There you go,” which can be interpreted as, We’re done now, so go away. Sometimes the cashier doesn’t say anything because he or she is too busy talking to another employee as the transaction takes place.
It seems to me when customers complete transactions having spent their money at the retailer, they deserve a sincere “thank you.” After all, these do represent some of the magic words we were all taught as kids. You will notice that these words are usually printed at the bottom of your receipt. They often appear on a sign as you leave the store. Why? Perhaps because management can’t count on its employees to say them. So here’s what I suggest:
Every team member should be required to say "thank you" or its equivalent at the end of a transaction.
Encourage your team to use it as part of a variety of phrases that express appreciation such as, “Thanks for shopping with us today,” or, “Thank you – we appreciate your business,” or, “Thank you, and have a great day.
Explain why specifically saying “thank you” is important: It is uniquely appropriate at the end of a transaction, it clearly states appreciation and it is expected. (Don’t we all expect to hear it when we help someone?)
Saying “thank you” is part of providing a good customer experience. And given that so few employees say it anymore, using the phrase is one way for you to separate your business from competition in terms of the customer experience and impress your customers.
Sadly, for my part, I've taken more and more to checking out using the self-help scanner. At least when I finish the transaction, the machine always says, “Thank you.”
May all your customers be devoted customers.
Dr. Dennis Rosen is the WinFluence® expert on customer service and sales improvement for retailers, service providers and sales professionals. More information is available at www.face2faceservice.com.
© 2014 by Dennis L. Rosen.