I swung by my eye doctor’s office yesterday to swap some disposable contacts for ones that matched my current prescription. When I walked in the door, I entered a packed waiting room with no one at the front desk. I waited a few moments and a lady appeared from down the hall…
Lady: Can I help you?
Me: I need to exchange these contacts.
Lady: OK, you’ll need to have a seat and wait. (She then turns to walk away.)
Me: What is your role here in the office?
Lady: Oh, I help Dr. So-And-So’s patients which is totally separate from your doctor’s stuff. You’ll need to talk to Andrea.
Me: OK. I’ll be right back.
I then walked a few doors down to check my mail and returned. The original lady with whom I spoke then asked for my name, disappeared into the back, and upon returning told me that they’d have to pull my chart. I did see a person whom I suppose was Andrea busily scurrying about but she never acknowledged me. I waited but when hopes faded of a speedy resolution I gave up and left .
Only Ask If You Mean It
When you ask a customer if you can help them, you darn well better be prepared to do so! It is OK to offer up helpful information to your customer without them having to specifically ask. The office lady described above could have updated me quickly and avoided us having to play 20 questions.
When You Can’t Help
If you aren’t the right person for the job and can’t help the customer, you need to explain such. Tell them who will be able to help them and when that help will arrive. Don’t leave the customer guessing.
Empty Front Desk?
Don’t let your customer’s first thought upon entering your business be: “where are all the employees?” If your front desk is empty or you’ve stepped away from your counter, don’t be an absentee business. Communicate expected wait time or explain the current situation via a sign or other visual indicator.
Yes, You Can Help Me!
Help your customers by setting proper expectations immediately upon entering your business or when you first speak with them. Doing so will help answer their questions, dispel any confusion, and put you closer to solving the customer’s problems.