It seems that many people who work in retail have forgotten the phrase "thank you."
That's a shame. And it's a missed marketing opportunity.
When I am handed something at a store – whether it's a sackful of drive-thru food, a snappy beige turtleneck, or that foxy new rake I had my eye on – I say thank you. Always.
But I find that most retail workers I encounter don't thank me for coming to their store, or for giving them money, or for supporting their job. They simply respond to my thank you with "no problem" or "sure thing" or "you bet."
Those colloquialisms can be friendly, but they don't replace the powerful words "thank you."
They don't reinforce a customer's value to your company. They don't say "we appreciate that you chose our business over our competitors."
I'll go as far to say that anything shy of a sincere "thank you" is lazy and detrimental to your brand, especially if you show happy, smiley employees in your TV commercials or on your website. Customers may perceive the disconnect between your brand identity and their real experience as a broken promise.
But when you encourage a culture that breeds proactively polite treatment of your customers, a lot of your marketing goals will take care of themselves. People will happily come back. And they'll spread your message for you through friends and online reviews. (Here's another way.)
What could be quicker, easier and less expensive than acknowledging each customer's decision to buy from you with a simple expression of thanks? And what other modest investment could pay better returns?