Thursday, 16 May 2013

Of Shopkeepers, Bankers and Third Row Customers

Ah, it felt so good to come home for the holidays.  School was good, but hectic.  University has changed me in so many ways, some of which I only discover when I come upon an all too familiar scene:

As I walked into the shop I instantly noticed that the counter was strewn with patrons waiting to be served.  The shop owner, who obviously needed help, was doing her best to meet the many demands as quickly as possible.  Somehow that seemed to have meant that there would be little chance of her acknowledging my coming into the shop, not as one whom she might have known, but simply as a customer.  All that she seemed to have wanted, was to hear the next order – wherever it came from, and from whomever.   So imagine my university inspired chagrin when someone from the third row (I was in the second) blurted out, ‘Sell me two Mathahorn deh Miss Pam.’   The horror wasn’t that he had the nerve to yell out his order from behind, or even the fact that he was a smoker.  The horror was that she had the nerve to fill it the order right away!  I had to speak up….

The thing is, nothing had really changed in that shop; that’s how it has always been.  But I had learned that that mode of operation was really bad for business.  Or was it?  Yes it was, because (with a sigh of relief) I didn’t have to say a word as there was an instant chorus of protests against this blatant unfairness to those who have been waiting patiently all this time.

It is especially noticeable in banks that there is a queuing system that makes it possible for customers to be served on a first come, first serve basis.  

How do you operate in your service area; shopkeeper style or like the banks do?
As a patron, what kind of customer are you; an impatient third row one, or one who understands that there is actually a line in front, and so you must wait?

From a customer service point of view the bankers are definitely the model to follow (if only they could go a little faster though – thank God for ATMs and online banking).

From a patron point of view, third row mentality won’t cut it.  If you must do face to face business, come early, get in line and wait your turn.