Don’t Disrespect Me, You Multitasker
My good friend, who manages gift shops, was livid: “The next customer who comes in and tries to buy something while they’re talking on their cell phone, isn’t going to get served.” She says people do this to her all of the time and it drives her off the deep end, adding “It’s incredibly disrespectful to me and my staff.”
Sure it is. The problem is a person who talks on their phone while trying to make a purchase is clueless as to how disrespectful they’re being. They figure that they can multitask, handle a call and make a purchase, at the same time.
Actually, studies say they can’t. A recent article on multitasking in Psychology Today explains that although we think our brains can manage multiple tasks simultaneously, they really can’t. What are brains are actually good at doing is switching tasks really quickly.
So, when it comes to being on a call AND making a purchase at the same time, we unconsciously prefer not to switch our attention from the person we know – our friend on the phone – to the person we don’t – the store clerk.
Understandably, the clerk feels ignored and disrespected. And the clerk knows that customers who on their phones are far more likely to make a mistake when ordering and paying. And who will get the blame when that happens? The clerk. No wonder my friend gets so upset.
Want to stay on your call AND make a purchase at the same time? Ask the person on the call to “hold for a moment while I make a purchase,” pull the phone away from your ear and switch your attention to the clerk until the sale is complete.
And for those people who think…“I’m the customer, and the customer is always right.”
Uh, no; not when you’re being a disrespectful multitasker, you aren’t.