There are four key parts to building a loyal customer relationship. They are:
Today we will cover the first item, the Acknowledgment. This is a critical detail that so many businesses miss on too many interactions each day. A simple head nod with eye contact immediately lets the customer know you see them and that you are politely letting them know this. If you are going to be busy for more than a minute, ask another associate to assist the new customer.
Why is this so important you ask? Because American culture demands a civil (read as polite) exchange in business. We have come to expect a feeling of being welcomed with a warm smile, a pleasant greeting and if appropriate a firm handshake. All of these interactions also need to have eye contact. This establishes an unspoken contract of trust.
Don’t believe me?? Think about the last time you went into a business and they knew you were there but did nothing to acknowledge you or even act as if they saw you. How did that make you feel? Did you feel welcome (I doubt it)? Did you feel good about choosing this business to patronize? And most importantly, “How did you feel about the offending employee who (to use modern parlance) dissed you??” If you were ignored like that on entry, how could they provide a great experience when they seemed to just not care??
There are 10-20 snap judgments made in your brain within just a very few seconds when you enter a business. They include how you feel about the business, the atmosphere, the employees and even the owner or corporation. This all happens within those first few seconds. We all do it and don’t even realize it happens.
But we do something else that is critical to your business and that is we decide then and there if we want to come back. Yep, we really do. What happens later can build on your position either way but realize to improve a customer’s opinion of your business is an uphill battle from the get go.
So remember to always stress the importance of Acknowledging the Customer as soon as you see them. They will be patient if need be for a short while and in a much better mood about it as well. Never forget: you will never get a second chance to make a first impression!!