It’s Saturday evening and we’ve just finished a family dinner out. We decide to head over to the grocery store to save us time and a trip in the morning. We enter the grocery store at 7:57PM and notice the store is bustling with staff but hardly any customers. A man standing at the front of the store (presumably the manager) is asked by my wife what’s happening. He says that the store is closing. We apologize and say we can come back tomorrow at which time he says its ok and to go ahead and do our shopping. We have a sense of guilt but also a sense of relief that we can do our shopping. It’s amazing how quickly you can shop when there are no other customers to contend with and the feeling that you really shouldn’t squeeze every orange since you’ve been granted a special privilege.
We get to the cash and have a great conversation with the cashier who lets us know that its ok we’re there after 8PM. It’s now 8:12PM and we’re at our car unloading the groceries. What a great feeling to have accomplished our grocery shopping in 15 minutes but to have received a special experience!
The lesson for any shop here is this: you may have a closing time posted on your window but it’s probably not likely that your closing will be completed at exactly the time posted. This means you may have employees dedicated to closing and others who maybe on standby to help last minute customers.
As a courtesy we would always close our shop 15 minutes after the posted time to give any last minute customers an opportunity to do an oil change. Even with a few oil changes in these closing minutes this would not put us behind leaving at a reasonable time since other members of our staff would be focused strictly on closing duties. Interestingly enough, these last minute customers would often become our most loyal customers since they appreciated us staying open just for them (even though we would have still been there performing our closing duties). That’s one of the secrets to my success in customer service on how to to make a customer feel special.