A week ago I went to a local arts and crafts fair and connected with a woman who I hadn’t spoken to in years. She is a local pottery artist that owns her own shop. It was pleasant talking to her and she said I could come to her shop for more pieces if I wanted.
So this past weekend I went down to her shop to look for Christmas presents. She had the place stocked with beautiful items and I noticed she was at the cash register. As I went to check out, she barely looked up. She seemed busy and stressed. She didn’t recognize me, well I’m not sure she really even looked at me, as I checked out.
And that was it. And I left feeling very unseen. She was calm and relaxed when I had seen her a week ago. We talked about various topics and she was kind and attentive. But she was someone else entirely this past weekend. And though I understand that she was very busy and preoccupied, it was disappointing.
Our personal touch with customers and clients is what solidifies healthy relationships with them. But if we are so consumed with the work that we forget to look up, we miss out on deepening relationships with them.
Often times we think caring for people is antithetical to making money when in reality, the more we care for people, the more likely they are to stay customers. And it’s a well-known fact that it costs far more to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one. So it’s vital to our businesses that when we are serving current customers we remember to take our eye off our work and look up and see them.
It gets crazy this time of year. Even if you’re not in retail and you’re just closing the year out, there’s still a tendency for us to check out or burn out (after all, those days off are coming). But we can’t forget that our customers are people and every interaction matters.
We need to remember to look up. Put a sticky note on your laptop so that your eyes actually leave it when someone comes to ask you a question. Put a note on your cash register. Put it on your to-do list.
Serving people is what makes our work worth it. There will always be work to do. But if we forgo chances we have to look up and serve people, we’ll find those chances dwindling. None of us wants that. So let’s remember to look up.
Cover image info: Original, royalty-free image from Death To The Stock Photo.
About the author: Lindsey Tolino comes alongside artisans, craftsman and people monetizing their passions to help them create healthy businesses. She shares her heart at ToBusinessOwners.com. Follow her on Twitter @LindseyTolino.