Confidence is a tough one. Some people seem to have it and some people just don’t. Communication skills can be built over time, however for a lot of people it is a lifelong challenge. Being confident enough to talk to customers doesn’t mean that you have to be able to sit down and have a four hour conversation about the effect of global warming, it simply means that you are confident enough to have an interaction with a customer over something as simple as did they enjoy the meal that they just had?
Most of the time customers are happy to have a bit of chit chat and whilst it is generally only small talk, it all collectively goes into creating the customer experience and it allows them to make the decision on whether or not they enjoyed this particular shopping experience.
If you find that you have difficulties communicating with customers try doing a few personal development courses (Toast Masters is a perfect one). There are a lot offered and they deal with areas such as: starting a conversation, overcoming awkward moments, thinking of topics to talk about, use of voice inflection and many more new and innovative areas.
Another interesting point to note here is that many people feel that they are not confident when it comes to talking to people, but to other people observing them they look incredibly confident and very effective communicators. I always remember an old friend of mine passing on some words of wisdom “ What you perceive as your greatest weakness other people perceive as your greatest strength”.