How to Greet a Customer: The Do’s and Don’ts
We’ve all been there – you walk into a store, and the salesperson greets you with a smile and asks if they can help you find anything. You politely decline and say you’re just browsing, but they continue to follow you around the store or try to engage you in small talk. It’s annoying, right? If you’re a business owner, you want to know how to greet a customer properly.
It’s important to strike the perfect balance when greeting your customers. You want to be friendly and welcoming without being too pushy or sales-y. Here are some quick tips on how to greet a customer (and make them feel welcome) without coming across as intrusive.
How to Greet a Customer
There are four categories of customer interactions:
- Small talk
When you first see a customer walking into your store, it is important to make eye contact and smile. This will help the customer feel welcome in your store.
Once the customer is close enough, greet them with a verbal greeting such as “Welcome to our store!” or “Thank you for coming!”
It is also helpful to ask the customer if they need any assistance. If the customer does need assistance, be sure to orient them to the store layout and let them know where they can find what they are looking for.
If the customer does not need assistance, you can still engage in small talk by asking them how their day is going or commenting on the weather.
Small talk will help create a more personal interaction between you and the customer and make them feel more comfortable in your store.
How to Greet Customers in Retail
Some shoppers feel that they aren’t acknowledged by retail staff when they are in the store, and this is considered one of their main complaints about shopping. This may be one of the reasons why a Salesforce report found that only 32% visit stores because they enjoy the experience.
The first impression you make on a customer in person is through your opening line.
A proper customer greeting is the first step in creating a positive shopping experience. By taking the time to greet each customer that comes in, you set the tone for the rest of their visit.
There are a few different ways to greet customers, and it’s important to find the method that works best for you and your business.
One way to greet customers is by using scripts.
Scripts can help ensure that you cover all of the important information during the greeting.
Another way to greet customers is by using your CRM system. This can help you personalize each greeting and make sure that you’re providing the best possible experience for each customer.
No matter which method you choose, it’s important to be friendly and welcoming when greeting customers. A positive attitude will go a long way in making sure that your customers have a positive experience with your business.
I remember distinctly being with some friends around a year ago in Cherry Creek. This is an upscale neighborhood known for its shopping, dining, and hotels.
My friend’s wedding was coming up in a few months, so he stopped by the tuxedo rental store to pick up his and his groomsmen’s suits. The staff greeted him by name and offered him a cold beer. They shook his hand and congratulated him on his upcoming nuptials.
When we walked out, I asked my companion, “Do we know them?” He replied, “Yes, they are helping with my tuxedo.”
The connection between them was built on a customer-brand interaction, but it felt real.
If I were in the market for some formal wear, I’d definitely go to Tuxedo Junction.
First impressions matter, especially in retail. How you greet your customers and interact with them can make a lasting impression. Investing in improving the customer experience is a low-cost way to improve your results.
A study found that 51% of customers would return to stores where they received “excellent” service. That’s compared to 30% of customers who said they’d return for “good” service and 13% of consumers who said they would return to a store after “poor” service.
Instead of always using a script, vary your sales greetings and wording. This shows your prospect that you’re not a robot and that you care about them.
When retail associates are allowed to interact with customers in a multitude of ways, it allows them to share the company’s brand values and vision with the customer. This shows them that the company is authentic, aware of what’s going on in the store, and authoritative and present in the store.
Customers must be able to easily communicate with you. According to research from salesforce.com, 75% of customers want to interact with salespeople. This communication is essential for providing the best possible customer service.
Breaking the ice with small talk is a great way for reps to establish a friendly and personal relationship with customers.
By asking questions that invite two-way conversation, you can get to know them better and build a friendly relationship. Avoid yes or no questions, as they can quickly lead to dead ends in the conversation.
It’s not the first or second question you ask that is the most important, or your first or last greetings.
After receiving a response from a prospect, it’s important to continue your conversation naturally. Your follow-up question should flow with the previous response.
How are you enjoying the rest of your day? I’m glad you stopped by our shop.
How did you find out about it? We’d love for you to let other people know too!
Did you stay up to watch the end of the game? I did too!
How’re you doing? I hope it’s going well.
What are you up to for the rest of the day? We can help you get everything you need and more!
Who are you buying for?
The Chick-fil-A staff is known for being extremely friendly and engaging in small talk with customers. They always have smiles on their faces and are always trying to make the customer’s experience a good one.
They chat with you while you’re waiting for your food, and one time they offered me 12 complimentary salads that were about to go bad.
But it’s not just me who’s happy — they’ve been ranked number one in customer satisfaction by the American Customer Service Institute in their sector.
Having established a relationship with the customer before, familiarity can help you create a better, more positive experience.
Now it’s all about building that relationship with them even further. Continue to show your clients that you care about them and that you’re doing your best to get to know their needs.
Using your point-of-sale system, you can track past purchases made by your customers. You can also make notes on them, which will help you serve them better.
You can use customer data you have on return customers to tailor your customer experience. This will make them feel more welcome and appreciated as a shopper.
Salesforce’s research indicates that a large majority of consumers prefer receiving personalized offers from the brands they frequent. In fact, over half of respondents said they would switch to a different brand if they felt that personalization was lacking in communications. These findings underscore the importance of making regulars feel like they are part of a community.
What brings you back to see us again? We’re always happy to see familiar faces around here. Is there something in particular you’re looking for today?
The familiarity of a customer’s first name is a powerful way to personalize a call.
A loyal customer base is a major selling point for hair salons. People tend to form close bonds with their hair stylists, which is why they return year after year.
The personal relationship that stylists have with their clients is what keeps clients coming back to the same salons. My mom drove 45 minutes to her old hairstylist after she moved to a different city because of the strong bonds they had.
What if we think of our sales associates as our own personalized stylists? The one who helps us create a genuine, human interaction.
This is when your representatives share a part of themselves (and by extension, your company) with your customers. This creates a connection through something happening together.
Your sales staff are the perfect people to establish commonalities with your customers – through shared values, perceptions, or even just a helpful tone of voice, you can make your brand relatable and instill trust.
I love those shoes! They look like they would be really comfortable.
Yikes, it looks like the traffic is really bad out there. You must be getting soaked out there! It’s been raining so much. It certainly has been nice having some nice weather.
I haven’t been to that shop yet, but I’ve heard great things about it.
Here are some tips on commonality.
1. Be specific: Rather than just asking ‘how about this weather?’, try to ask ‘did you go out to enjoy the warm day?’
2. Be personal: Encourage sales associates to personalize their interactions with potential customers by sharing anecdotes about their personal lives that are relevant to your brand. Personal testimonials are important when you’re establishing commonality and they definitely need to be true and helpful.
3. Be genuine: Consumers can tell when you’re being fake, so it’s important to be authentic.
4. Be positive: Rather than saying ‘when will it stop raining’ say ‘you are more than welcome to stay here as long as you need’. This is called putting a positive spin on a negative situation.
I was in the market for a new snowboard so I went to my local sports shop. The sales associate was a snowboard enthusiast himself and he shared his own experiences with the different board types with me.
Even though I had originally intended to shop around, I instantly trusted him because we both had a passion for snowboarding. I bought my board from him that day, and we’ve become good friends ever since.
When customers first enter your store, it is important to orient them to the space. This involves welcoming them and familiarizing them with the layout of the store. This way, they can find what they are looking for more easily and without any hassle.
Offer them product information that they may not have thought about.
If you’re looking for running shoes in our sports apparel shop, don’t forget to check out our running socks too! They’re buy-one-get-one, and available on your way to the shoe section.
Take your time looking around. Some visitors stay as long as 45 minutes just exploring the store. If you need any help, just let us know.
After your initial engagement with that prospect, check in with the customer to see if they need help. Offer to carry their items or help them find what they are looking for.
Would you like a basket?
Can I free up your hands?
How about I start a fitting room for you while you continue looking around?
Would you like me to hold your cup of coffee at the counter so you can shop easier?
Are you finding what you thought you would?
Whenever I go into my local outdoor gear store, I am immediately greeted and welcomed by an employee. They usually stand near the entrance and exit doors, greeting and saying goodbye to customers.
When customers walk in, they typically ask which products they need or which services they require.
The sales associate then guides them through the store and helps them locate what they need. This is a great way for the associates to welcome customers to a store and help them navigate a large retail space.
Using digital signage is a great way to greet customers and guide them around the store in a larger area.
During major sales periods (like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and Back to School), it can be helpful to have a holiday-themed message in your back pocket.
Happy Holidays! Need some gift ideas? Come check out our holiday specials now.
Best Non-Verbal Practices for Greeting Customers
It’s not just about what you’re saying, but also how you say it. Your tone of voice, body language, and facial expressions can all influence how a customer perceives you.
Look The Part
Of course, your appearance and grooming are important when talking to your customers. The more likable your look is, the more likely customers will respond positively to your greetings.
Dressing appropriately for your line of work is important. The appropriate attire for a formal business setting is different than the apparel appropriate for a children’s toy store.
Be sure to freshen up your makeup and hairstyle before hitting the sales floor.
Time Your Greeting Properly
When making sales in retail stores, it’s best to wait until about 15 to 30 seconds before approaching a customer.
Try approaching them after they’ve had a chance to adjust to your shop. Otherwise, they may be overwhelmed.
Be Mindful of Your Body Language
Your posture and the way you carry yourself are a key part of helping customers feel comfortable. Keep your hands at your sides and make eye contact to show that you’re open and approachable. You should also respect their space by maintaining a comfortable distance.