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Many consumer these days would trade a "pleasant" experience, to an "efficient" one.
Later when it was time to pay, there was another surprise. A gentleman sat solidly at register slowly and carefully counting out money offered him by person in front of me, while being quite gracious. He had trouble telling a quarter from a nickel, but it all got worked out. He must have been over 70 years old. He looked sharp in his uniform shirt. My reactions, as a consumer, and concerned citizen of US, were these, in no particular order: So many people can't live on social security or busted 401Ks these day, isn't it wonderful they hire seniors? This is going to be slow, so I might as well calm down. I don't want to put pressure on him, it would rattle him, and he'd go even slower."
A person of any age can have this sort of demeanor and aura, but one finds it more in seniors. After all, they've seen a real emergency, they know that most things work out, and they aren't about to fall for your "hurry up" vibes, because they know that "haste makes waste. So who am I going to yell at?
"Yelling at" is a figure of speech here. As a consumer, I expect certain things when I walk into an establishment hoping to spend my money there, and if it doesn't occur, I'm miffed. Sometimes I say something to manager. Occasionally I'll write corporate, though not just for a free gift certificate as some do, and I'm more likely to do it with praise than with criticism. Criticism is best addressed at local level.
Most often I do what every business owner dreads. I express my dissatisfaction by never returning. They don't get a second chance. (Savvy managers love to hear customer complaints; that's how you learn what's working and what isn't, and, paradoxically, it's also how you get loyal customers. During my former years in public relations, I knew when I had a protestor on phone, I had at least a 60-40 chance of converting them to a real fan.
THE DINING EXPERIENCE
From minute I walked into place, atmosphere was different. What do you imagine was difference in attitude and behavior in a staff consisting totally of people under 20, and people over 65? What would you think would be pros and cons to yourself as manager or owner, and to consumer? Here are some of positives:
. Consumer expectations are radically changed. . Two age groups available for peak staffing and short shifts. . Two age groups grateful for work and often willing to work for less. . Two age groups not at peak working years, so less likely to be in a state of current of pending burnout. . No one behind counter is complaining that their feet or back hurt from standing for hours. . No one at register is complaining that it's "confining" and "boring" to have to sit on a stool for hours. . Two age groups which really enjoy socializing and may prefer jobs with opportunities to visit and chat with co-workers and customers. . Two age groups which are generally more focused on moment so, therefore, are less likely to be in a hurry or impatient with customers. . Two age groups 35-50 year old consumer will relate to with nurturing instincts - they see their child or their parent behind counter. . Two age groups not so likely to get "hired away" from you. . Two age groups that don't have small children at home.
Today's business demands require thinking outside box, and I'll give this manager an A+ for innovation. I think he or she found a plan that will work.
©Susan Dunn, MA, The EQ Coach, http://www.susandunn.cc . Helping individuals and businesses improve their emotional intelligence for more success and wellness. Coaching, business programs, diversity, Internet courses and ebooks. I train and certify EQ coaches. Fast, affordable, comprehensive, no-residency program training coaches worldwide. Mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or free ezine.