Create a personalized experience at the first customer interaction that goes beyond “Hi, can I help you with anything?”
“Welcome to [COMPANY NAME]. My name is [FIRST NAME]. How are you doing today? (Also see below for other variations)
- Focuses on creating a personal connection by introducing yourself with your first name.
- Asks a general interactional question (How are you doing today?) rather than a transactional question (Is there anything I can help you with?).
- Recognizes the customer as a human with feelings, rather than just a customer who is there to transact (spend money).
Customers will immediately feel recognized as a human because you asked them how they are doing. If you asked something like “can I help you find something today?” it immediately signals that you see them as someone who is just there to spend money. This shift in language and perspective could have a small, indirect impact that sets up the rest of their experience. It could also have a bigger impact.
Consider how each customer may come into your business with a different mindset, attitude, or preconceived notions. One customer may be having a great day, while another may be having a bad one.
Customers who feel as though they are just another potential “sale” may be less inclined to trust us. It also doesn’t do anything to improve the experience. Those who feel seen as a human rather than another potential sale are more likely to transact with you now and in the future.
Food For Thought
How do your customers feel when they first walk into your business? Are they invited with a personal interaction?
If YES, think about what your team says or does that creates a welcoming and inviting first interaction. Is there something that you can add to the experience to personalize it? It can be as simple as asking the customer for their first name and using it every time you communicate with them.
If NO, consider identifying a behavior you can establish, which would enable an inviting and personal first interaction. It can be as simple as always having a trained “greeter” at the door who consistently initiates a welcoming and personal initial experience. Be sure that whatever you implement is consistently practiced all the time.
Two other examples of personalized greetings:
- For regular/loyal customers: Welcome back [FIRST NAME]. It’s so great to see you again. Also consider asking a question specifically pertaining to the person, since they are known. For example, if you remembered that they were recently in with a child before they were heading off to a soccer game, ask how the game was.
- For new customers: Welcome to [BUSINESS NAME]. Thanks for coming in. I’m [FIRST NAME]. How is your [morning/afternoon/evening] going? Be sure to NOT follow up with any transactional questions. Feel free to maintain a conversation, but don’t relate it to selling. You can rest assured that if laid the foundation for trust. A barrier has been broken down between you and the customer with this simple conversation. If they customer needs help, they’re now more likely to come to you at the right time.
Note: You may be wondering if focusing on interactions rather than transactions is going to lose you sales. The answer is a resounding no! One of the main concepts that I preach is focusing on interactions over transactions may feel like it’s directly limiting your ability to “sell,” but in fact you are focusing on a longer term approach to winning quality customers, rather than getting a quick sale. Over time, this will pay dividends as opposed to just focusing on the potential one-time sale that can happen in the moment.