It’s just one word. “Hello.”
But, that one word can make or break a customer’s experience. In Chicago and other big cities, it’s easy to get lost in the crowd, go about your own thing and not think much about the fact that strangers rarely ever say “hello” to one another.
This past weekend, I was shopping in Jewel when an employee that was stocking shelves approached me, said “hello” and asked how I was doing. It occurred to me that it was the first time in four years of shopping at that particular Jewel that an employee (aside from checkout line workers) had actually greeted me. Intrigued, I quickly looked to see if the man was the Store Manager, but confirmed that he was in fact just a regular employee.
We chatted for a few minutes before I went on my way but I was immediately in a better mood despite the crowded aisles. It seems funny that such a basic encounter would spin my entire shopping experience, but it did.
Just Say It
Yes, it’s customer relations 101, but there is way more at stake than is initially perceived when you first connect with a customer. A pleasant greeting immediately softens the perception of a brand or company and makes a customer realize that you care about the forthcoming interaction and their pending experience.
Want to Know How to Get It Right?
Visit the Caribou Coffee at Kingsbury & Ontario in Chicago. Not only will you be greeted but employees will know your name, interests and desired order after a couple visits…and they don’t forget. They go above and beyond to make sure you have the best possible experience from the moment you step foot in the door until you leave. A sincere customer experience and relationship – that’s why people pay $4 for a mocha.
Go ahead and try it, but take it a step further. Next time you’re dealing with your customers, don’t just say hello. Say hello, ask how they are doing and listen. By listening intently, you’re going to gather a whole wealth of feedback and knowledge that will benefit your customer’s next experience ten fold. It’s the most basic step to start building strong customer relations.