How to be a Customer

How to be a Customer– Are there classes for that?

by Carl Phillips

In my first career life I was in some form of department store management.  Everything from managing particular departments, operations manager, store manager and regional manager of stores.  I’ve spent countless hours helping my associates deal with every customer type known to mankind.  At one point in my career journey, as a store manager, I asked my associates to never tell a customer no.  If a customer asked for something the sales associate knew they couldn’t grant, they were to apologize and say “I’m sorry, I can’t authorize that but I’ll call a manager”.

It's amazing how customers change their confrontational tone, most of the time, when a manager is involved.  It’s even more amazing to witness other customers becoming involved, in a non-confrontational way to bring a positive lite to a situation.

I’ve always wanted to teach a college course on how to be a customer.  We place a lot of emphasis on customer service training from the associates perspective, but equally important is how to be the kind of customer associates would bend over backwards to serve.

I recently saw a video that highlights my point perfectly.  Take three minutes and listen in to this incredible interaction.


Where are you in this situation?  Is it possible for you to be one of those customers who sensed a human need and reacted to it in a non-confrontational way?  Imagine the ripple this scenario created in the lives of everyone involved.  Positive deeds are quiet but the ripples go on forever. 

Carl Phillips

Carl Phillips
VP Sales / Marketing (and Chief Mystery Shopper Guru for The Garden Center Group)
Business Evaluation Services

For more information on The Group's Mystery Shopper Program,

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