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Old Fashioned or On Song

So a woman walks into a generator store in a small country town (no, this is not the start of a joke). Another woman asks how she can assist, albeit with some scepticism in her facial expression.

She listens intently, asks some clarifying questions and asks permission to pass her onto another person in the store, as he would have more knowledge. So where’s the punch line?  

The female store assistant grabs Dave and tells him everything she heard before allowing Dave to talk the female shopper. There it is, the punchline – just in case you missed it. She didn’t just flick-pass the shopper, she made a conscious decision to explain what had been talked about already. The customer interaction was extremely positive. It was pure gold.


There were three things that occurred in this simple transaction that ensured the customer interaction ended so positively.

  1. Listened Intently

Often people in customer situations are simply not listening to the prospective client. They will hear certain words in a sentence and make an assumption of what they require. That is why we see phone calls being transferred to different departments incorrectly or face to face interactions being quite frustrating. The sales or service person hasn’t stopped and given the customer their full attention. They have made assumptions and created a customer experience that is very average, at best. Another fall out of this, sometimes, is that the sales or service team blame the customer – oh dear.

2. Asked Questions

One of the key skills to listening is to ask GREAT questions. Ones that hook into the previous sentence that the person you are speaking with has stated. Whilst it seems an easy task to do, in my 20 years of training, people still do not do this well. Watch Andrew Denton to learn how to master the skill of hook questioning. 

3. Passed On Knowledge

I loved that she just didn’t flick it to Dave but that she made the effort to retell the story, as she heard it. Obviously, this is great for Dave but so much less frustrating for the customer as they do not have to repeat themselves. When we have to repeat ourselves we feel like we are wasting our time. Given time is important to us in any interaction, we need to be conscious and respectful of other people’s time.

If you are reading this and thinking, ‘sure, we do that’ – that’s awesome. I would, however, question how well it’s being done because it is my experience, as a customer across many industries, that this is not happening anywhere as much as it could be or should be. In my mind, this is why so many people have switched to online shopping amongst other factors. Would you like us to do a mystery shop on your organisation and see how your people are interacting with prospective clients? Call us on 02 8279 6955 or email [email protected]

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