I’ll always remember Melanie. She wasn’t my first girlfriend. My wife Jill was my first girlfriend, and my second and . . . well you get the picture. Melanie wasn’t my 7th grade English teacher either. That unfortunate task went to Mrs. Jonestup, who faithfully tried teaching me grammar, while I stared out the window. Melanie was my server on a recent trip to the California Pizza Kitchen. She smiled the entire time a friend and I were having lunch. Despite the fact that he and I seldom agree on much, on this we reached instant accord: Melanie’s smile truly made us feel welcome.
Nothing can start an encounter off on the right foot like a warm greeting. Too often, we make our customers feel unwelcome by greeting them with poker faces. We make them feel like an interruption when we should, in fact, be thrilled that they have chosen to call us instead of our competition. We don’t realize how much effort is required to reverse a negative first impression. Talk about heavy lifting. It’s just easier to do it right the first time!
Here are three sure-fire ways to greet your customers sincerely:
We’ve all gone in a store where a clerk in the back has shouted from the back, “hello”. How much harder would it be to come up front, smile, and greet us properly? Do your associates stand with their arms folded when customers are near? They might as well have a “do not disturb” sign hanging around their necks!
Like it or not, our customers size us up when they first walk in. Their initial impression sets the table for the rest of their service experience. Once we get off on the wrong foot, it’s very hard to recover.
Thanks to Melanie, diners at the California Pizza Kitchen feel welcome. Now, the Tango Mandori Chicken Pizza, that’s another story all together. That’s not welcome in my house.