Don't fake your actions. Be sincere.
Two feet over the threshold and I’m welcomed with an enthusiastic “Hey, Boss, come on in!” Surprised by his eagerness and feeling a bit crowded by it, I pursed my lips and forced a subtle nod. He turns his head as if the moment had become too personal. “Hey, hi, hello!” he blurts to the next customer and walks away.
Many stores push the mantra: Greet everyone that walks in that door! As a result new employees take this mantra to heart powering through customers like a politician at a hand shaking rally. The principal idea behind greeting every customer is sound; acknowledge that the customer took the time to come into your store. Unfortunately It’s the weakest thank you possible. It’s the bare minimum for considering your products and keeping you in business. Greet everyone is one of retails favourite mantras and it’s inadequate. The mantra should be:
Connect with as many people as possible
To accomplish this staff should be trained to engage in relationship building or fact finding dialogue with customers.
Every customer has a story and it’s your job to get it.
Here’s a trick I employ: Observe customers as they approach. Make up a story based on body language and the people with them. Is this a mission or are they lost? Are they with their family or friends? Make up a story in your head and see if it’s true.
“You must be looking to beat the rush on snowshoes!” — It’s the middle of July and you are ridiculously wrong but you have their attention and you have started the conversation.
Don’t be afraid to talk to the kids . “You look fast! You must be looking for shoes with superior speed and handling.” Mom or dad will tell you they need shoes that will last. You can follow up with durability or price point. The conversation flows. It’s natural. It’s honest.
What about the customers you don’t reach. After all your business model is counting on customers outnumbering staff. You can’t be expected to engage everyone in a meaningful way. — Don't worry. Your genuine actions have a spillover effect.
As you help one customer your service is being intently evaluated by surrounding customers. Connecting with one customer has a referral effect. If the interaction is genuine the surrounding customers feel comfortable and the store gains credibility.
Drop the super greetings in favour of a real interactions. Your reputation will get stronger. It will help your customers, your staff and your bottom line.