I was busy writing a sweet post on my thoughts about Seth’s latest post when I ran accross someone who already said what I was looking to say.
(Sometimes you just can’t say it any better… )
Seth Godin today writes that when a store helper asks, “May I help you,” it’s equivalent in its uselessness to asking a teenager “How was school today?”
It’s funny because I was thinking about the same thing when I walked into Radio Shack the other day. The RadioShack employees are paid on commission, so helping you is pretty important to them. When I walked in, the sales rep asked me if he could help me today, and I politely declined. I tend to decline most of the time, perhaps because I’m stubborn and perhaps because I’m a man.
At the same time, though, I was thinking, “If I were him, I would be asking customers something they don’t have a predetermined response for, like, ‘What are you looking for today?'” It’s a little tweak in language, but it would make all the difference in getting a response.
“Oh, you want headphones, it’s over here – follow me.” In this way, I am not supposing the customer is helpless or incompetent (which is what the customer feels when you ask him “May I help you”), but rather, I am now cutting down his or her time in the store. I am suddenly a value added.
Tweak your questions, and you’ll get a much better response.