Small talk is a service design tool

Last time I was in a shop the vendor had to enter a few data on his computer. The seller was super professional. He made his work as quick as possible. But at the end of that shopping experience, I felt a bit disappointed. Not because the service was bad. In fact, the service was excellent. It was professional, friendly, clear. I was disappointed because there were a few long minutes where neither of us two was talking. The vendor was doing his work so quickly as possible. And I was just waiting in a situation where you don’t know what you should do. What I was missing was simple: small talk.

There is one profession that has understood the benefit of small talk well. The barber shops and the hairdressers use small talk as a strength. That is such a moment where as a client you can’t really do something, but you have to be there and wait. The hairdressers solved the issue of having bored customers a long ago. They just speak about the weather, the last news or whatever creates a small discussion.

I think there are many occasion when in the shopping experience we could use a small amount of small talk. It would make the experience less annoying for the customers. The fact with small talk is that you quickly see if customers want it or not. Just try it with a few sentence and you will see. But don’t try it and people who would have loved a little discussion won’t have the opportunity to have it.