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listening skills

I understand that not all customers are going to listen to every word I say. Sometimes I’ll say “good morning” and I get a “good, thanks” in reply. That’s fine. Inconsequential. But some of the things I say to them are things they actually need to listen to, be it warranty information or how not to blow themselves up. Since I say many of the same things to every customer, it’s so ingrained in my speech that I can’t help BUT say it. So later when they complain I never told them that, I am confident that no sir, I really did tell you.

A man was buying motorcycle batteries. One of them we had just gotten in stock, so it was not filled or charged yet. This is a process that can take several hours so we usually have the customer come back the next day. I mentioned this fact to him 3 separate times throughout the transaction (which lasted probably 7-10 minutes).  I never really got a defintie response from him regarding this pertinent information, so that’s why I kept mentioning it. When he went to leave, he started to take the empty battery with him. I said “sir, you can’t take that yet. We need to fill and charge it in order for it to work.”

“What? Why didn’t you tell me that?”

“I actually did. Three separate times.” My coworker nodded in agreement.

“Oh, I thought you meant that I needed to charge it.”

So he returned the battery and got his money back. The thing is, I still wonder what the heck he was paying attention to during the entire conversation. Sure, he had his young daughter with him, but she was running amok unsupervised. She was literally running through the store knocking lightbulbs off shelves, and opening various doors repeatedly (such as the door to the stock room which is not where customers are allowed, and the front door, which makes a chiming noise every time it’s opened). So I know he wasn’t distracted by the feat of wrangling his brat. And I was the only person talking to him, the only customer in the store. Yet somehow he missed me telling him multiple times that he would have to come back for his purchase.


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