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Greeting customers , your crucial first impression

Whether you are in a retail store, hotel, receptionist in a company or in any customer facing situation those first few seconds set the tone and create that crucial first impression that your customer will have about you and your company. This may sound simple but it is one of the most important skills you should acquire to be a professional service or customer care agent. and by the way, this applies  also if you provide service over the phone you must work on developing a good warm greeting to your customer.

Always remember that you only have a few seconds to make a great first impression.

Why is greeting so critical?
A lot of things happen. They all take place within the first couple of minutes after a customer enters your store/compay/hotel...etc.. They immediately do a visual assessment: How does your place of business look? Is the merchandise appealing? Is the place welcoming?
when you first greet the customer you are selling yourself first, your business  second, the experience third, and the merchandise/service last. You want to get the customer feeling comfortable as soon as they walk into your place of business.

Remember these 3 greeting rules  :

1. Good Eye Contact
2. Great  Smile
3. Great Opener

So now lets look closer into how to make a professional greeting and introduction that can increase sales of your business as we said previously if you are in retail or providing any kind of service or in any professional business setting where you are tasked with greeting customers, here is how to do it professionally. We will look into two different scenarios , the first one is when a customer is approaching you at your work station. and the second one where you have to move and approach the customer to greet him/her and offer assistance or help.

First Scenario : when a customer is approaching you at your work station/desk :

Step1 : Introduction statement
Step2 : Gather info.
Step3 : Engage them in conversation
Step4 : Build bridges to the next step (whether it's making a sale or serving the customer )

Greeting step 1- Your introduction statement : How about opening up with something like  “ Thanks for coming in!”
 
Think about it. Your customer has an infinite number of choices and a limited amount of time. They could have done anything and yet they came into your store/company.

 

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Greeting step 2 - Gathering Free Information 
After your warm, inviting and professional greeting, you want to engage the customer in conversation. This is how we recommend you do it. You want to exchange names for the sake of personalizing the interaction. 
 
This is an example of how this might sound :
 
“Hi! Thanks for coming in! ,  John at your service sir , Is this your first time in our store/company?”
 
This welcome accomplishes a number of things:
 
It welcomes the customer and puts them at ease. It expresses gratitude for their presence. It is also a form of compliment, because you are complimenting the decision they have made in coming into the store/place of business. It provides the sales associate’s name. It collects the customer’s name, which can be used again throughout the sales process. This strengthens the relationship. There is nothing sweeter to the ears than hearing one’s own name. 
 
But, the key aspect of the above exchange is asking the customer if they have been in the store/business before – that is good information that can be useful to you later on in the conversation.
 
However, during this step of the greeting, your customer is providing all kinds of free information you can use during the upcoming conversation. You can use this free information to help you customize and personalize the offerings you make during the sales process.
Which leads you to step 3 and 4 to engage customers into conversation.

Second Scenario : When you approach customers wondering around  in your work location/store/company...etc.

Imagine this scenario 
The customer enters your store/place of business and a sales person approaches them and asks a question such as:

Can I help you?
Do you want any assistance?
Are you okay there?

come on honestly what do you think the customer's answers will be ?
No, thank you
I’m just browsing
I’m okay

Approaching Potential Customers
The point here is that you will get a greater response to sales questions if you first give the prospect a reason why they should answer. You will close more deals and increase sales. Before asking a question you should state your credentials and give the buyer a potential benefit that they can gain from talking to you. This can take just a few seconds, but it sets the scene and gets the customers talking.

When you first approach a retail customer tell them what you can do for them.
Tell them something, briefly about your experience, position in the business, qualifications, and how you can help them. Introduce yourself as an expert, an advisor, and someone that can help them to make informed choices.

So let’s see how we can change that

Here’s how to increase sales by doubling the number of customers that talk to you. Write a new, brief, introduction that you will now use when approaching customers.

The key elements of your new introduction are:
1. Your name
2. How you can help them ( Experience, qualifications ,..etc.)
3. An open question to start the conversation

6 Important things to remember about greeting :

1- Make the customer feel welcome and appreciated.
2- Make eye contact when greeting the customer.
3- Never address a customer from behind – that’s scary and creates unwanted pressure.
4- Address customers from a reasonable distance -- no shouting across the store/work station.
5-  Create your unique, memorable greeting
6- Never stop greeting! If you pass customers/colleagues  in the store/company, make sure to acknowledge them with a friendly smile!

 Goodluck with  your new customer encounters, remember these first few seconds are crucial so try to make the best of them and create your own unique great warm greeting.

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