The start to any relationship begins with a greeting. This holds true for a business to customer or B2B relationship as well. The way you greet your customer goes a long way toward setting the tone for the customer's experience with you and your business. A warm, sincere greeting has the ability to make a positive first impression. Making the greeting as effective as possible should also help to do a number of things. The greeting has the potential to identify the customer's needs and also help move the conversation of commerce forward while setting the stage for a sale.
Many customers may come in to your establishment with pre-conceived notions or in a more timid way if this is their first visit to your business. While it is important to recognize the posture and attitude of a customer entering your business, do not let what you think you see stop you from greeting a customer properly. Some customers will give the impression that they do not want to be approached or assisted. This is an opportunity to offer a warm, sincere greeting. This may be exactly what the customer needs to move towards feeling more comfortable in your store or business.
A greeting acknowledges you are aware of the customer's presence. It also makes clear that you are there to offer assist if they need it.
Timing of a greeting is important. It should occur as soon as you are aware of the customer entering your place of business. Once you make eye contact with the customer is the best time to offer the greeting. Even if you are assisting another customer, make sure you greet the new customer and let them know you will be with them as quickly as possible. If you do not do this the customer may think or assume that you are too busy. There is a chance they may decide to leave without having any contact with you.
Here are a few quick business greeting tips and techniques:
• Be polite, courteous and kind. Always use the “magic words” like "please" and "thank you" whenever greeting or speaking to customers.
• First impressions matter. They are important because as discussed they set the tone. Make sure you convey positive feelings and of course a smile when you greet customers.
• Do not underestimate the power of phone greetings. You want a potential customer that calls to leave that conversation thinking that your location is a place they want to visit in person. The tone of voice is important when answering the phone. There is truth to the phrase "It's not what you say, but how you say it.” That refers to tone.
• Also if you or your employees seem upset or hurried, that comes through in person and over the phone. It also shows if you are distracted. Stay happy, engaged, focused and concerned if needed and always demonstrate a willingness to help the customer and assist them.
A word about current and post-pandemic greetings. Wearing a mask may reduce the visual effects of smiling but just as “smiling” over the phone has a positive effect on the sound of your voice so does your smile beneath your mask.
There is no question that how you and your employees greet customers has a significant effect on your business. Understanding and focusing on the power of a positive greeting is another element that can and hopefully will help your business grow.