I was in Dan Murphy’s store this week buying a Christmas gift for a dear friend.
And I’m a regular customer of Dan Murphy’s, where I buy wine and beer on occasions.
But today I was at a different store to where I usually visit.
[Dan Murphy’s is a large chain of liquor stores in Australia]
And as I stood in line, for a while, waiting to purchase my bottle of Penfolds, and a gift bag, I had time, and sufficient time, to observe who ahead of me was buying what, as well as observe the service behaviours of the staff at this liquor retail store.
Here’s what I observed:
Firstly, there were more cash registers available than there were people operating those registers.
This created lines, or queues, of people with product waiting to pay.
There were two registers open, out of maybe four or five available.
There were at least ten customers queued patiently in two lines, waiting, and I mean waiting, to purchase their liquor supplies.
They waited with bottles, with baskets and with trollies of alcohol.
While the customers waited and waited, one of the cashiers called over the public address system for someone to come to the registers.
This made sense to me.
This cashier appeared to be aware of the imbalance of supply and demand that was existing at the registers.
Too many customers.
Not enough servers operating the registers.
Time to call for the cavalry to clear the backlog.
A female employee appeared at one of the vacant registers.
More staff! Yippee!
It looked as if she was about to open up a third register.
It looked as if at any moment the two lines would equilibrate into three shorter, faster moving lines.
It looked as though the world had been saved.
She was only an apparition.
As quickly as this woman employee appeared at the register she just as quickly departed that scene and moved to a sign in the post-checkout area where she proceeded to administer attention to that sign.
This woman was oblivious to the long lines of valued customers waiting to make their purchases.
And although our two lines were growing in length, this woman proceeded to administer mouth to mouth towards the said sign, despite the intensity of attention being hoisted upon this woman by those in the line.
Putting it bluntly it was fairly apparent that this woman’s attention was required at the registers and not at the sign.
Just because a customer has goods in their hands and is waiting to pay for those goods doesn’t mean that the sale is completed.
Maybe not in a liquor store, where customers are beholden to their goods as a matter of life and death, but certainly in other retail outlets, I have seen customers simply drop their goods and head out of the store without making a purchase because of the service at the register being non existent or glacial in pace.
Too many retailers believe that the sale is a fait accompli once the customer has chosen the goods.
The sale is only complete when the customer’s money has left their person and is on your person, or in your register or in your bank account.
And at no other time.
The easiest way to satisfy the retail customer is to reduce the time taken between choosing the good and owning the good to as little as possible.
And yet most retailers ignore this fact.
Some retailers such as JB Hi-Fi and Chemist Warehouse now use a maze of additional purchase upsells to negotiate through before reaching a register.
No such idea at Dan Murphy’s though. Just plain old bad service.
And just when you thought the story could not get any worse….
The cashier who called for more cavalry goes to the hand mic and makes another call for more help.
Though this time, after he calls, he then dons an orange fluoro vest, which seems so stupid that it’s almost unbelievable.
You see, the fluoro vest is an item of clothing worn by store employees when they are required to do some out of store attention in carpark areas.
Duties such as trolley collection, or rubbish bin emptying.
And so what this meant was that this cashier was more intent on collecting trolleys than he was on clearing the lines of waiting customers.
And sure enough, another employee appeared and like magic, mid customer and mid transaction, our “hero” departed with vest on and our replacement server slotted straight in to complete the transaction.
So what happened next?
Well, I don’t know.
I just picked my jaw up off the ground, proceeded to my cashier, and made my purchase.
As I left the store I looked back and made a quick customer audit.
Six customers queued in two lines still waiting to be served, while the car park was attended to as well as the poster in the exit to the store.
The worst thing you can do is to take your customers for granted.
I felt as though my custom, or my business, was being taken for granted.
There was no *WOW!!* factor at the check out here at Dan Murphy’s at lunchtime this Wednesday.
Was it simply this outlet that was having a bad day?
Or was it that this “attitude” was particular to this outlet? And that you could expect this lack of attention every time you visited this store?
Whatever it was, it was not a *MAGICAL MOMENT*.
Make me feel important, valued or special?
No, sadly, it did not.
WHAT’S THE LESSON HERE FOR DENTAL PRACTICE?
How’s the check out process at your office?
Do you have insufficient people available to process your departing patients?
Are your patients having to wait, unattended, before they can pay for the dental treatment the have just received, while the front office person is on the phone, or attending to another patient arriving or departing?
Or is there more than one patient at a time waiting to settle up for their treatment?
Don’t for an instant believe that because the treatment is over that the appointment is over.
Because “parking” your departing patients out the front is a very deflating end to what is meant to be an *Ultimate Patient Experience*.
Don’t allow this point of difference between your Dental Office and the Dentist down the road become the reason why your valued patients defer or delay or cancel their ongoing necessary treatment.
Look at your patient visit from the customer’s point of view.
You’ll be amazed at how much of their experience you are overlooking…
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The Ultimate Patient Experience is a simple to build complete Customer Service system in itself that I developed that allowed me to create an extraordinary dental office in an ordinary Sydney suburb. If you’d like to know more, ask me about my free special report.
Email me at email@example.com
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