A friend of mine tells a tale about being at a buffet restaurant and standing in long line with her husband to get their meal. 

As they approached the buffet table, they noticed that there were no plates left, so they asked a passing waiter if there were any plates.

He answered "yes" and continued walking.

When he next walked past, they asked if he could bring them some plates and he went into the kitchen and returned with 2 - ignoring the long line of people behind them.

Although this is an example of a staff member acting literally, he did answer the initial question correctly and he did provide what was asked so - was it providing service?

To some people, a simple answer may be enough, but is that turning customers away from your business and straight to your competitors?

Let’s use another example.

I recently rang a local business to ask if they had a certain product – the answer was yes.  I then asked if they were all one size.  The answer – no they are made to measure.  Next question – how long do they take to be made.  About 3 weeks……..  Ok thanks – bye!

Now the young lady on the other end of the phone was pleasant and polite but for me it was hard work and for the business it was a lost sale.

Think about how your staff handle enquiries from customers – are they just answering the questions or are they engaging customers in conversation that potentially leads to a sales relationship?

Lisa Thomas