I do a fair amount of shopping in Johannesburg and sometimes in Cape Town when I’m on holiday there yet I know of only one store manager who takes the time to welcome customers into his store.
It would be unfair to single out any one chain store but my experience in all the large supermarket chains has been the same. The sad thing about two of these large chains is that I never see the managers or the assistant managers.
In one of the large supermarket chains, struggling financially now and letting go management, I often see the managers but they stay in their small information cubicle or console area, talking among themselves. Unless a customer approaches a manager at this information desk, they don’t give one eye to the customers passing by.
Perhaps the supermarket management could take a relook at those information counters and decide to either rip them out or get their managers to not huddle inside them all the time. Yet I wonder if any of this interests store owners these days with the recessionary times everyone is experiencing. Do supermarkets and other stores even believe that friendly customer service is still important? Perhaps many customers don’t really care and are merely there to shop and get it over with as quickly as possible.
Come to think of it when you shop in supermarkets or the big discount stores, there are very few staff around. If you are in one of the aisles, there are no staff anymore to help you find a specific product. Even the checkout is understaffed in most stores these days. It seems that staff have been cut to the bone.
Even in the US where Walmart had store greeters since the 1980s the recessionary times have chopped off this service. The greeters have been removed from the store entrance and work inside the store to help shoppers find products or direct them to an open cash register. Regional supermarket chain Fry’s Food Stores in Arizona terminated greeters last year because of costs.
It’s rare to find anyone greeting or welcoming you at stores these days. But if you are able to do it – not all day but at certain times – customers will remember it. Smaller stores can take advantage of what the giants have lost. What a difference it makes to enter my local Spar where the owner stands at the entrance and says hello o customers.
It feels good. It feels different. And it feels a lot better than at all the big stores where you will only be greeted by the watchful eyes of the security guards at the store entrance.