I recently became invisible! Of all places it happened at Radio Shack. I went in to buy some batteries and within minutes I was invisible… When I arrived the store was quiet and empty except for the sales associate who was helping the only other person in the store at the counter. I quickly realized that it was going to take a while because the other customer was getting a new cell phone service set up and there was a lot of explaining and reading going. Since there was no one else to help me I thought once the sales associate saw me she would step away from the first customer to ring me up and send me happily on my way. Our eyes met briefly and I thought great – she will tell me it will only be a minute or step away to ring me up while the first customer was reading through the contract. But as quickly as our eyes met, her’s moved back to the contract and more explaining to the other customer. It was as though, well, as though I was invisible. I thought it must have been my imagination but it happened again a few minutes later when the sales associate came up for air and looked right at me. Or, through me?
When I was a kid I always thought it would be pretty cool to be invisible. I would day-dream about all the stuff I could do and get away with if I was were invisible. As it turned out, on this otherwise uneventful day at Radio Shack, I realized being invisible is not so cool. In fact it stinks.
Memo to sales associates, check out clerks, ticket agents, and anyone else who has the good fortune to have a job at a company successful enough that customers line up for your products or services: take a minute to look up, make eye contact, and acknowledge that customer in line. Customers, as it turns out, are not like little boys who dream of being invisible. Customers, who pay your salary, actually like it when you see and acknowledge them. And for those advanced users serving those same customers who pay your salary, try a smile and a few words like, “be right with you”, or “sorry for the wait, it’ll just be a minute”. It will do wonders and customers may become even more visible in your store on a regular basis.