Open or Closed

Feb. 13, 2017

“We are Open – Come on in!” 😀 or “We are closed ….. Go Away!!!” 😡

I often wonder what store employees think of the simple Open/Closed sign. If you are behind that sign I bet you are thinking that being closed is far better than being open……. Right?  Well, I am the type of guy who is always a few minutes early when shopping and it infuriates me that whoever is behind that sign absolutely refuses to open that door until the clock strikes the OPEN time. Let me in, I know you aren’t quite ready, but I will browse a bit longer until you are ready to talk to me. I promise I will be good and not interrupt your nose picking time.

Then there is the opposite. I enter your store 10 minutes before closing time, just to grab a simple item and I already hear the announcement:  ”We are closing in 10 min please bring your purchases to the cashier. We will be open again tomorrow morning at 8am for your shopping convenience thanks and have a nice day” or in other words “Get the #$%^ Out!!” It certainly doesn’t improve my mood.

I can remember back in my days as a manager I always used to open the store 5 or 10 minutes before we were actually open. Customers loved it, so why did the employees hate me so much for doing it. Well it tells me that most people like to be on a schedule and try to stick to it. It also tells me they don’t like dealing with customers (It’s True I am afraid). Now you say – How can we change the attitude?

I guess you could stay open 24 hours-a-day like 7-Eleven. Maybe we just open the door when we are ready and close when we want and not put up a sign at all. Oh I got it fire everyone and only hire people who really like to open 10min early and close when you are done shopping. I know they are hard to find good luck in your endeavour.

The real solution is to teach and reinforce the rules and importance of good customer service. Always remember the Rules of customer service:

Rule Number 1: The Customer is always Right.

Rule Number 2: If you think the customer is wrong revert to rule number 1.

Rule Number 3: Open 10 min Early and close 10min late.

Works for me and it can work for you. It’s the small things that can greatly impact customer satisfaction. So next time I visit your store I hope you will be following my Rules of opening and closing in your store.

Brian Wood

Over 40 years of retail experience. Managed and Merchandised for a large Grocery Chain for 22 years in the grocery sector. 13 years as an Area manager for third party merchandising and direct to store ordering company. 5 years in the liquor industry as an operations manager with a major Liquor store chain. This article is my own opinion on things that I observe or have observed throughout my career.

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