My radar naturally scans my daily environment to find examples of good and not-so-good customer service experiences. I was walking through a major shopping centre last week. What struck me, as I entered various shops, large and small, was that I was treated as “the invisible man.” Rather than being treated as the most important person on the premises (as all customers are), staff would look gaze into thin air as I walked past them. Or they would look through me and not acknowledge me. I obviously was wearing my “invisible paint” that day…or staff were not trained to greet their customers.
We are all emotional beings. We like it when people treat us well. A warm greeting is a simple gesture that helps to make customers feel that “this organization cares.” Starbucks has trained its people to welcome customers as they enter the premises. It creates a connection. Imagine how many times they have to do this every day! They do it because management realizes the importance of creating a welcoming environment. When you are welcomed, you lower your guard. You may even feel more relaxed more in the mood to buy, or do business.
One way of systemizing this in your organization is to set up the “10 and 6 Rule” for contact with customers. If you are into feet and inches, this means that, when a person is 10 foot away, you raise your head and at 6 foot, you greet them. Of if you don’t know about feet and inches, convert this to the “5 and 3 Rule” where at 5 steps away, you look up and at 3 steps away you greet your customer, or patient or guest.
I had a series of radio interviews every Friday. Just before each interview, I had a cup of coffee. There is only one coffee shop in this building, so I had no choice. When I entered this coffee shop, I am treated like the Invisible Man. With a bit of luck, the management of this company will read this blog post, act on it and then surprise me with a warm welcome! And, perhaps, just perhaps, I will buy more than a cup of coffee from them as a reward. I will help build their business by telling others about my good experience.
And all it would have cost this and the other companies that treat me like the Invisible Man is the simple human gesture of giving me a warm welcome. A pretty good return on investment, don’ t you think?