I was looking for paint at the local Home Depot…
I’m not a regular, so I sauntered over to the paint counter. The “team member” manning the counter stood facing me, eyes down, looking at a piece of paper. I stood at the counter and waited for him to notice me.
After a minute or so of standing around I made that throaty fake cough noise you make when you’re trying to snag attention.
Finally I just blurted out “Where’s your whiteboard paint?”
Dude took an exaggerated amount of time to look up from the paper, then just pointed toward an aisle and started walking away – his body language letting me know with every step how much of an inconvenience this was on him.
His back was to me, and I found myself staring at the base of his skull where his head met his spinal cord. A John Woo fight-scene flashed through my mind: me leaping through the air, screaming “Ki-yai!” and driving my fist into his brain-stem, grabbing my paint, then back-flipping 3-stories onto an inventory shelf and making my escape.
Crazy, yes. But this guy was on my nerves.
He stopped midway down the aisle and (while still not facing me) half-heartedly pointed to a few cans of paint on the shelf. It looked like just lifting his arm to show me the paint was killing him, the poor lamb.
“Thanks” I said.
He didn’t say a word, just turned on his heel and lumbered back to his counter to “help” someone else.
Now, I don’t know if he was a manager (I hope not), I don’t know if his manager called in sick and he had to climb out of the box where they hide him from the outside world, or what.
All I know for sure is this type of customer “service” leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths, and has folks talking about their experience with your business in all the wrong ways.
Sure I got my paint, but it was a putrid experience. And I’ll go out of my way to buy from anybody and anywhere else I can before spending another dollar at that store.
Because here’s the truth: EVERY interaction with a prospect or customer is a marketing event which creates an experience that either reinforces or undermines the relationship you’re trying to build with them.
In my case the relationship was undermined, and instead of a repeat customer, it’s bred future sales prevention.