5 small lessons from a market hall

Image by martinbetz (Licence)

We have this old traditional market hall at Tampere where people sell different kinds of delicious goods, like cheese, sausages, breads, cakes etc. Maybe you still remember a place like that? Altogether, it’s a place where you can still bump into some rarities, for example to customer service.

I found this odd culture, still not yet extinct and would like to represent some of the lessons we all working in sales or doing some kind of customer service work should learn from them.

I agree these next couple of points about their style of service, made after careful empirical studies, can be hard to comprehend:

  1. They tend to look at you when you come to their counter. They are ‘there’.
  2. Often they say odd things like ‘Good day’ or ‘Can I be of any assistance’ before you stood there 5 minutes and looked stupid because no one’s even noticing you.
  3. They tend to small talk.
  4. They know their products and can tell you about them. Even without you asking.
  5. Overall, they make the event of commerce pleasant.

So my point being? In these times when every brand and company is trying to stand out from another: aren’t previous still the things that really matter and howcome many still manage to overlook them?

Shouldn’t we already forget repeating the empty phrases like ‘We are customer oriented company/brand/etc’ or ‘Our strenght is service’ [even if it’s not], and just start acting as our brand promise says? It can’t be that hard, can it?


2 thoughts on “5 small lessons from a market hall

  1. Marko, thanks for the summary. I think the main difference between the good old market hall and – for instance – any IT store, is the fact that the salespersons in market hall own their business.

    You get more committed doing your job when the job carries your name on it (and especially if you are going to leave your business to your descendants).

    The big question is, how one can motivate his/her employees to do their job with such a devotion as a market hall salesperson.

    Btw, the other reason for good customer service in market hall is propably the atmosphere itself: the old-fashioned interior, the mat lamps and the hand-made products. I think it affects on people in a positive way.

    But when you go to any IT store, there’s too much hi-tech, too much fluorescent lamps ja too much haste. All that must have an negative influence on both customers and salespersons.

    What do you think?

    • Katleena, thanks for the good comment. You have many good reasons there that might be just like that. The commitment and motivation is too often nowadays ruined: how can an owner expect his or her employees to commit if they haven’t committed themselves to their wellbeing.

      Still, one can’t always blame franchising or the atmosphere ruining it all. For example the convenience store Clas Ohlson is a good example of a functional work place and a store, where one often has good service [at least I have been that lucky almost every time]. OK, the setting isn’t that ‘special’, but good service can make you forget that. 🙂

      Of course the setting can do a lot to a store, and it’s sad that too often it is neglected, instead of creating it to work as a marketing benefit. We have theme restaurants, don’t we? Why couldn’t we have better themed stores too?

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