In any interaction, whether it’s a visit to a retail store, a call to a contact center or the click of a mouse to view an e-commerce site, “the Greet” is the first step to creating a personal connection with a customer. In my new book, The Welcomer Edge: Unlocking the Secrets to Repeat Business, I talk about ‘Welcomers’; associates who innately see the customer as a person first, a customer second. They need little or no training to automatically make a customer feel welcomed, important and appreciated.
When a customer walks into a store, a Welcomer’s smile is evident and welcoming, whether they have met before or not. When a Welcomer answers the phone, it’s as if they were greeting a neighbor and their response to an email inquiry is not only timely but will sound like it was written by a friend – or someone who you would like to have as a friend.
But Welcomers are rare. More frequently you will encounter Robots; those frontline associates who view the customer as just one more person to process. The good news is that I have found that many robots do want to communicate a more welcoming feeling, but they just don’t know how to do it. Therefore, I developed a tool kit for Welcomer-wannabees to help them think and act the way a Welcomer would. This tool kit is divided into three segments: ‘the Greet’, ‘the Assist’ and ‘the Leave-Behind’. Employed together, these three components will help any business generate repeat customers.
First, let’s focus on the tools for the Greet:
➢ Give a big hello as if you know the person.
➢ If you do recognize the person, and know his/her name, use the name; if you don’t know their name, ask for it and try to remember it for their next visit or call.
➢ Tell the customer your name, even if it is on your badge: “Hi, my name is Mary Associate.”
➢ If you don’t remember the customer’s name the next time you see them, say, “I’m sorry, what is your name? I forget.” They will appreciate that you remembered them and tried to recall their name.
➢ Be aware of what customers are wearing, carrying, holding; compliment them where appropriate and be genuine.
➢ Then ask “How can I help you today?”
In this era of anonymity, people are more stressed than ever. Getting a big, warm hello can go a long way in this age of impersonal technology, multi-tasking and high anxiety environments. People love to hear their name. It can automatically turn a Robotic encounter into one that is personalized and starts to build an emotional connection that can last a lifetime. These simple steps can transform the interaction and the customer’s perception of the business.
I will elaborate on the tools for the Assist and the Leave-Behind in future posts. What other tools would you add to “the Greet”?