Friday, February 19, 2010

The Usual?

I went to one of my favorite lunch spots recently. This place has the best chicken salad sandwich on the planet as far as I'm concerned. I have been going there off and on for the last 22+ years. . . almost half my life (so far!).

While I was eating, several regulars came in. How did I know they were regulars? The lady behind the counter taking orders immediately called them by name. I have no idea if that was because they were neighbors or because they also frequented this restaurant regularly. Either way, she asked them if they wanted their usual. Everyone of them said yes. She proceeded to write down their orders on a pad and repeated it back to them for accuracy. She got them all correct. Bonus for her!

After observing this, I immediately thought of the tv show "Cheers" and whenever Norm walked in, everyone shouted his name and his beer was waiting for him at his usual seat.

Most of us can see the good in this. Right? What I observed was great customer service. How many of us can call our customers by name and have their products waiting for them at the counter? Sure we have a few who get their usual products and are easy to remember because they get the same product(s) every time they come in.

What I didn't observe was any type of cross selling or up selling. This is a little mom-and-pop type of sandwich shop. Quick service sandwiches and not much else. But they do have a selection of fresh fruit, desserts, chips and a few other side items. To some of these customers, they were only being offered a small portion. It's like going to a buffet and only getting the roast beef at the carving station. You're missing out on the vegetables, desserts, other meats, etc.

If we are not offering everything at our buffet (our stores) then our customers may only believe they have a limited menu from which to choose. Cross-selling, suggested selling, sampling, . . . . these are just a few tools we can use to get people away from "the usual."


  1. I've always hated the idea of "hard sales". And I was really apprehensive about up-selling when I first started working for Carmike Cinemas as a cashier. But now I've really come to appreciate the fine are of suggestive selling. "Did you want to get a large and get free refills?" "All of our earrings are 'buy two, get one free'; let me know if you need any help." Some customers don't know or forget about items or specials. I'm all about being sure they get what they want at the best deal for them!

  2. Excellent point BabyJ20. Some customers don't know about any special deals or discounts. They come into our stores as if they have blinders on and never see the rest of the store outside of their product section. It's not necessarily our job to "sell" them but to inform them and educate them. Establish a relationship with the customer and the sales will follow.