My husband and I are in the market for a garden shed. Our basement runneth over! Between bikes, lawn mowers, rakes, shovels, and a snow blower, our storage area is beginning to look like a bad episode of “Hoarders: Buried Alive!” Not wanting to be approached by this popular reality show, we decided to solve the problem with a shed. So on a beautiful summer Saturday afternoon, we drove out to Lancaster, PA to visit Lapp Structures – a large and reputable manufacturer of sheds in our area. It was a hot day and we figured we’d be the only people in the showroom. Who would be shed-shopping on a Saturday in the summer! Lots of people, apparently!
When we arrived we saw that there were other parties ahead of us. We thought this was going to be quick and easy. From their brochure, we knew exactly what we wanted, but the people ahead of us seemed to be determined to turn their shopping experience into an all-day affair. What happened next was nothing short of a miracle. The sales agent, Linda, looked up from her desk when she heard the door open; she smiled, made eye contact, and told us she would be with us as soon as possible and that perhaps we might like to take a look at their samples located outside on their lot. By suggesting this, Linda not only bought herself some time, but we eventually bought ourselves a much bigger shed than we originally intended. Brilliant sales strategy!
When it was our turn to be served, I was impressed with how unflappable Linda was with the number of interruptions she experienced in the short time we spent with her. She was the only one in the office, with only a skeleton crew in the manufacturing yard. She fielded two phone calls, tracked down support staff to handle a technical question that one of the customers had, and greeted two other parties who arrived after us with the same smile and greeting that she afforded us.
Here is her formula for successfully handling multiple customers and tasks:
- Greet all customers immediately
- Offer a reasonable expectation of when you will be able to focus on their needs
- Offer the customer something to do while waiting (enjoy a beverage, look at samples, tour the facility, etc.)
- Maintain a sense of humor and pleasant demeanor
There is a sign in this office that hangs prominently on their wall. It reads, “We are too blessed to be stressed.” It is a motto that this organization seems to have embraced – at least Linda has!
How do you handle multiple customers at once?
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