The Art of Greeting, by Kimberly
Trying hard not to sound redundant, but it is true that in our big world, there are a lot of people. Here in Canada, we are fortunate that our expanse of space per person is generous. Even in a large city, we can sometimes find ourselves walking a street and be the only person on it. The early mornings I spend dog walking are often solitary, but a quick ‘Good Morning’ is all it takes to acknowledge another person when you find yourself meeting up with them. Having that greeting returned is like receiving a hug. Some people I have shared the side-walk with, have hung their heads down, inspected their shoes or looked in the opposite direction to avoid acknowledging me.
Though it does sting a bit, I know that there will be someone else around the next corner that will wish me a good morning when I say it to them, and may even beat me to it. We just happened to be in the same place at the same time, and I would certainly not push a good morning on anyone.
But in retail, it is a completely different situation. This is about your clients. They have come into your store, either because they like the way it looks or because they have previous experience with your brand, they’ve chosen to come to you. You already have their attention. Give them yours!
Paco Underhill, of Envirosell Inc., a research and consulting company which specializes in retail, agrees with greeting everyone. Just don’t do it in the customer decompression zone. This is the place where the shopper is in transition, and they need time to adjust to their new surroundings.
He also says, never ask anyone if they need help, as this gives them the opportunity to say no.
Paco Underhill’s research has found that the average shopping mall stay is now down to approximately one hour, with 11.27 minutes spent in a store if the person is a buyer. This goes down to 2.36 minutes for non-buyers. This result is greatly affected by store design and displays. 60% to 70% of purchases that are made are unplanned.
Keep communication friendly, and easy. Staff should make sure that they do greet everyone as soon as they are able to, without the appearance of snubbing a person that they may currently be assisting to greet a newcomer.
“Could you please wait a moment, I’ll be right back?” Any reasonable person will say, “Yes.” And will appreciate your good intentions towards them, as well as toward another shopper when they hear you say, “Good morning! While I’m with another customer, please feel free to look around and I’ll be right back if you need any assistance.” No reasonable person will be offended by this. Each person has been greeted personally, and knows that they are important, and that they will be looked after.
Bob Phibbs, the Retail Doctor, says, leaving a customer alone can cost your company big money. 80% of customers never return to a business where they have perceived indifference from staff. 80% want to be noticed……and 100% want a friendly greeting.
This ain’t no dog walk.