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Show genuine interest in your customers

By By Liz Keener

This past weekend I was walking around a major department store when an employee walked up to my husband and me with the standard, “Can I help you find something?”

I’ve noticed this particular retailer has been making a larger effort organization-wide to have its employees address wandering customers, which has been appreciated. But on this particular day after the question was posed, my husband and I paused for a few seconds in thought, and the employee walked away. In fact, we were looking for a car charger for my phone, and didn’t know where they were in the store, but the employee didn’t know that. He was out of sight before we could get the words out.

Many retailers require that their staffs greet and acknowledge customers, but it’s important that employees show genuine interest in potential buyers as well. Sure, my husband and I ended up finding the car chargers, but we were frustrated and turned off by the employee’s lack of interest.

It’s been said time and time again, but it bears repeating: make an effort to greet every customer who comes into your dealership, but also be sure to go the extra step in making the interaction meaningful.


  1. This is a very interesting article. Consider all the effort that goes into the question,"Can I help you find something ?" Consider the responses you might receive in return. First of all the question, it's the wrong question. This question can be answered "No". Retail management wants to,make a customer feel welcome in their store, help a customer make a purchase in a timely manner (showing respect for the customer and his/her time), and equally important encourage a return visit. This question may, only a percentage of the time, accomplish one of those goals. The sale of one item. By asking the question,"What may I help you find ?" you show respect in your proper use of grammar, regardless of a customer's walk of life, the question really can't be answered,"No", and so it may be a short walk to the item. Having worked in Retail for nearly ten years in the Automotive Industry, I've learned that one needs to learn a lot about a customer and his/her needs to satisfy them. The best question is still,"How may I help you ?", or "How may I serve you ?" They do sound formal, but a customer will appreciate your respect. Those questions also open up the door to a relationship, rather than a one time sale. When The Management trains their staff, they want more than a sale. Every word, many or few, should reflect the openness of the store, and encourage a friendly rapport. That encourages a friendly atmosphere and a welcomed experience over and over. Repeat sales should be the goal. The first time in a store the customer should feel a desire to return. That is good sense and good business.

  2. I totally agree with your article. I agree with you that in order to show a genuine interest in your customers you have to get to know your customers and their needs. Asking the customer questions is a great way to know their needs and desires. But it's also in the way you use your words when talking to your customers. Your tone of voice determines whether or not your customer will return or whether or not he or she will have good or bad things to tell others about you and your company.

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