I never thought of it this way, but John Slenko, service advisor for Griffin Brothers Tire, Wheels and Auto Repair, one of my sales & profit growth clients used the term “When the bullets are flying” to describe what it is like in their store when there is an overload of customers all at the same time.
He asked my advice on how to do a good job, selling and servicing each and every customer when your time you have to spend with each customer is extremely limited. Having been on the sales floor all my life I knew exactly what he meant.
We would create such buying frenzies when we had a major promotion we literally had customers coming at us from all angles and hanging on to our shirts to be serviced next.
So how do you give each customer great service when you are overwhelmed? Although I do not think there is a sure fire 100% great way to accomplish this I come close by always giving every customer 100% Customer-Centered Service.
You are being 100% Customer-Centered when everything you say and do is about the customer, not about you or your business. You are being 100% Customer-Centered when the customer feels they are the most important person in your life. When the customer feels you are treating them fairly.
First, no matter how busy you are, make sure you recognize each and every customer when they arrive at your business.
It only takes a few seconds to look the customer in the eye, smile and say, “I’m sorry I can not take care of you immediately, I will help you... (if you give them a time, like 10 minutes, you must make sure you keep your promise). Whatever you say the customer views it as a promise and the clock starts ticking. What you say is what they expect to happen.
I was patiently waiting my turn to talk to a salesperson in a local Sun Com store, shopping for a new cell phone provider, when another customer came in. One of the salespeople did the right thing, immediately acknowledging the presence of the new customer by excusing herself from her customers and quickly saying, “Welcome to Sun Com. There will be someone with you in a few minutes.” The customers immediately responded, “How long is a few minutes?” “Five,” replied the sales woman. The customer glanced at his watch and the clock started ticking.
I positioned myself next to the waiting, impatient customer, and at exactly five minutes from the sales woman’s statement, he looked at me and said, “Her five minutes are up.” And then he walked out of the store.
Now to stop them from leaving I like to add, “And for waiting I will give you a GREAT DEAL.” I am not saying I am going to reduce my selling price. What I will do is increase my services.
I also, at times, gave the customer who waited for me a small gift. It only cost me a dollar or so, but to the customer it is something they feel is important and was just for them.
And of course always thank the customer for waiting for you.
Now we have to sell as many products and services as we can to each customer and do it quickly. When the bullets are flying I close the sale on the main item the customer is buying, but always mention the add on items (and I write them down so the customer can visually see what I have suggested will enhance their purchase.) If they do not purchase my add on items now, I will contact the customer at a later date and sell them the add-on items.