A 5-8 second investment in greeting your customers properly will pay back huge dividends.
Those of you that own or have owned a dog will know what I am talking about. Regardless of how any dog owner feels or acts when she comes home, her dog is right there at the door wagging his tail excitedly as if to say, “I am sooo glad you are home! I missed you so much!” You may not always be able to count on the human members of your household giving you such an enthusiastic greeting. Your canine companion never lets you down and you probably feel good that such a big fuss has been made over your simple act of returning home.
Now I am not about to suggest that you act like a dog. However, we can learn a valuable lesson here. People want to feel important. They want to be recognized. Many customers feel like nameless numbers wandering aimlessly through your store or call queue. You can change that feeling immediately with a “tail waggin' greeting”! It is really easy.
Stand up when a customer shows up at your door or office. That action signals excitement. Put a huge smile on your face. Make a sincere, excited statement such as “Hey Mike!! It is sooo good to see you!” Stick your hand out to shake hands or even make a quick soft touch to that person's shoulder when appropriate. The entire greeting should last up to 5-8 seconds. During that time keep a big smile on your face. Make eye contact the whole time. Show real interest in that person. Those 5-8 seconds will set the tone for that person's entire visit.
You can do the same thing over the phone. Using your voice properly you can show genuine happiness to have the chance to interact with your customer. That enthusiasm directed at a customer over the phone can effectively help to calm an angry customer or just make a regular one feel better about having called you.
Most importantly, that 5-8 second investment will pay back huge dividends. Customers will feel good around you. They will look out for you because they will want you around. Of course they will, you are the guy that makes them feel good. When you can make customers feel good about themselves, their perception of the severity of their problem diminishes and they are ready to listen to your suggestions. Certainly, they will not hesitate to walk past your competitors and keep doing business with you.
Michael Bowman is a Furniture World Magazine reader and the Call Center Manager at Roomful Express Furniture in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He has worked in the call center/ customer service industry for 11 years. Comments or questions about this article can be directed to him at firstname.lastname@example.org