Thursday, January 15, 2009

How to Greet Your Customer-Attitude is Everything!

In a comment on a recent post Mr Q stated "The standardized greeting is a nice idea, one from which many businesses could learn. The other element, of course, is HOW the greeting is delivered... is it forced or insincere? If so, the WHAT will be completely lost in the HOW. So, as with all good managers, the mayor and/or city council must pay attention in an ongoing fashion to both the message and the delivery."

It was such a great comment I decided to write more about it. MrQ is absolutely correct. The HOW the greeting is delivered is absolutely essential. The following is from my soon to be published book "The Greet Your Customer Manual"

The most important element of your greeting is your attitude. No matter how hard you try to fool people, a negative attitude will be apparent. You give it away through your facial expressions, body language and vocal tone. Sometimes you reveal a negative attitude through what you doan't say or do.

A good attitude is one that is appropriate for your position of business. Clearly a funeral director needs to project a more somber attitude then a balloon store clerk. But both should be connected to their customers and concerned with their needs. Yes even the balloon clerk.

For most businesses, a good attitude means that youa re positive and upbeat, but in a genuine way. A phony cheery greeting has never once been mistaken for a good attitude. You can't successfully paste an insincere smile on your face in order to mask your true feelings. ou need to smile warmly and show enthusiasm for your customers.

So check your attitude. How would you feel if you were greeted in a similar fashion to the way you are greeting your customers?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Greeting Your Customer for Cities-Boardman Does it Right!

Chet Phillips, Boardman Oregon's new mayor understands the importance of a great greeting.

In an article in the East Oregonian, Erin Mills reports about Phillips first city council meeting. At this meeting Phillips announced his "Welcome to Boardman" campaign. He has asked all business owners to greet every new customer with "Welcome to Boardman."

Having the entire city greet visitors with this very welcoming greeting will have many benefits for both the city and for the merchants. First of all it is a great way to brand the city. After a few experiences hearing "Welcome to Boardman" visitors will think "WOW! That is different!" and they will tell friends and family about how welcome they felt. The best form of advertising is always going to be word of mouth. I can imagine Boardman getting known from this simple step.

The other benefit is that it will encourage all businesses to offer a warm greeting. Too often businesses can forget this important step. We get busy or distracted and forget to just say
"Hi" or "thanks for coming in" or any other greeting that shows that you are grateful to have this customer choose you.

In my soon to be published book "The Greet Your Customer Manual" I talk about how to greet your customers in a way that makes them feel like valued guests. I am so glad that the Mayor see how important a greeting can be for businesses and cities.

Why not start greeting your customers so that they feel like they are important to you. Tell me ways that you greet your customers!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Customer Service=Convenience

It has been my believe that what customers really want is EASY. Make it easy for them to do business with you and you will have a customer for life. Even in tough economic times most people still value convenience over price. 

It is amazing how many people make it hard for their customers to do business with them. Everything from making finding their phone number on their website into an Easter Egg hunt (tip: have your phone number as the footer on every page or at least have a clear "contact us" navigation button) to responding to emails and phone messages quickly (tip: 24 hours is TOO long these days. People want to hear back the same day if at all possible)

People need/want to have what they want quickly. Anything you put in their way ends up costing you the customer. We all have way too many choices where to do business. Easy to do business with will end up winning.

Yes, even "free" services need to be convenient. An article in the Star Community Newspaper talks about Shelley Holley, who has taken over the roll of library director at the Frisco Public Library. Holley's goal is to make her library relevant and convenient. She hopes to create a central area where where patrons can " things that sometimes now you have to go to several different areas of the library to do." Holley said.

What can you do to make it EASY for your customer to do business with you?
Look at these areas, as your customer might:

Phone systems. Have a friend or relative (who doesn't know the secret routes) to try and call your business. We sometimes haven't tried our own system since it was put in. If they they have to go through more than two sets of prompts you are NOT easy.

Email. Again, have someone outside attempt to contact you by email. How long did it take to get their mail responded to?

Parking. Is it easy to get into and out of your building. Sometimes you can control the parking but you can get innovative. Holiday Market has valet parking during holiday peak hours.

Returns. Yes, people can take advantage of liberal return policies. But I know people who ONLY shop at stores that allow returns easily. If you feel the need to have policies to protect you than make sure that they are clearly marked EVERYWHERE (Ie. on the sales slip, on your website, at the cashier etc. It doesn't hurt to have the salesperson say it out loud.

These are just a few of the ways you need to make your business easy. Now, let's hear from you.
What have you done to make your business easy? Or, what have others done that have made it hard for you to do business with them.

A prize to the best response!