I attended the British Grand Prix this year as an accredited photographer. On the first day of the event I wandered up to the media centre to register and joined a queue of some six people waiting in line to do the same thing.
I put my gear on the floor and within a few seconds the woman in charge of the registration desk, Victoria Martin, lifted her eyes and reassured everyone they would be attended to shortly and thanked all of us for our patience. I nearly fell over!
I’ve often been in a queue but rarely has anyone ever taken the time to acknowledge and thank me while I was waiting. Most of the time, the people who are serving simply can’t be bothered, haven’t been trained to do so or fail to realise just how important this simple gesture is.
To me it’s common sense and good manners to make some sort of contact with those waiting. By doing so, you put those waiting at ease and in a retail situation where people are waiting to buy, you minimise the chance of them giving up and walking away, resulting in a lost sale.
I’m not suggesting that it guarantees customers will wait, but it certainly makes them feel more obligated given you have assured them that you will be with them soon.
I made a point of letting Victoria know how much of an impact it had on me and she seemed genuinely surprised by the feedback. In my mind, acknowledging waiting customers in person is as crucial as acknowledging those who wait on hold on the phone in your business.
If your team isn’t doing this as a matter of course, get them to start now and reap the rewards.