Sunday, June 6, 2010

Peachy attitude at the Farmer's Market

What's there not to love about this time of the year? Warmer weather, longer days and the Farmer's Markets start to fill up with more and more of the season's best produce.

Every Sunday morning I do a yoga class at my gym (well, almost every Sunday). Just outside my gym there happens to be a little Farmer's Market (Santana Row, San Jose).

I noticed a new vendor recently selling nice looking desserts but with a sour-faced lady sitting behind the table and staring into the space. She wasn't engaging anyone and she looked so unfriendly so I wasn't inclined to stop at her booth. But that didn't stop my dessert-loving husband who decided to ask her what her goodies were. Her answers were short and factual. No details about the ingredients or how it's made, no opinion about how it tasted, no smile - she acted like she was bothered to have to answer his questions. So I didn't even bother to ask her why the Tiramisu was not being kept cold on that 85-degree day.

I was planning to write about the wonderful fruits and vegetables I tasted at the market but the marketing professional in me compelled me to tell you about this woman's poor attitude. I was astonished that she had no interest in trying to sell her products at all. Why the heck was she there?

The interaction with her was so negative that despite how lovely the desserts looked I could not justify giving her my money. I preferred to give it to someone else who had a better work ethic and was going to give me a pleasant experience. I even returned to her booth the following two Sundays after the first encounter to give her the benefit of the doubt (perhaps she had an emotional trauma that first day), but she was exactly the same. And each time I observed to see if customers were going to her booth - they were not. They must have felt the same negative vibe.

Maybe it's the marketer in me that was sensitive to her unfriendliness (or cluelessness). But if I'm going to spend my money (especially on something I don't absolutely need), the interaction should be a positive experience. She wasn't the only one selling desserts there.

Bottom line... a peachy attitude can go a long way. No matter what you're selling, whether it's computer software or cakes, it's important to provide good customer service, which starts with a good attitude and making the customer feel important. I bet replacing her with an enthusiastic seller who is well-versed about the products would triple or quadruple sales.

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