Walking my dog this weekend, I passed a homeowner getting his groceries out of his car. He looked up, gave me a big smile and asked “How you doing?” I smiled back, told him everything was great, and continued my walk with a bit of an extra bounce in my step.
Such a simple thing, a friendly greeting between strangers. Even though I may never see that man again, I’ll remember feeling welcomed as I walk past his house.
What would happen if every single one of the people who call or visit your company experienced a friendly greeting? If you as the owner stressed that the person on the phone, at the door or the front desk represents the entire company to every visitor, client and customer. If you believed that the frontline person has the ability to make a difference to the growth—e.g. sales—of the company. And what would happen if you rewarded the frontline person, both in terms of compensation and in terms of public recognition?
How is it that corporate America decided that personal, warm welcoming was too expensive, a nuisance or a burden that the company could get rid of? Buy and install automated systems, and never give it a second thought. Or install a buzzer outside a locked door that rings inside when someone comes to the door.
You don’t have to be ‘corporate’ America, though.
Your company can be the best owner-run business you can be. I’m thinking of law firms, CPAs, designers, consultants, financial planners, builders, medical services, household services, architects, website and other tech firms, co-working spaces, retail businesses, wedding planners, florists, and myriad others.
Owners Crave Differentiation
Owners hungrily seek advice about how to stand out from the competition. All the advice boils down to the concepts of branding and “social.” What they mean is that if you concentrate on you—your image, your message, your products and services—you’ll somehow stand out.
I don’t think that standing out from the competition is the reason people buy.
People buy because they have good feelings about your company. They feel that you care about them. Once they have this feeling, they’ll justify their purchase by thinking of the features or benefits of your offerings. And they won’t care a whit about competitors.
There’s no better way to show you care about your buyers than by having an extraordinary person greeting people, both on the phone and in person, if you have an office or place of business.
How to create extraordinary greetings
Here’s my wish list for extraordinary greetings from businesses of every size and industry. How many of these does your business have?
- A live person answers the phone during normal business hours. This person is unfailingly friendly, warm and welcoming.
- A dedicated person staffs the entry or front desk of your location. They are rarely away from the desk and when they are there is a substitute.
- This person’s primary responsibility—their #1 priority—is to convey warmth and welcoming to every single caller or visitor.
- This person is deeply entrenched in the company.
- He or she understands the products and services you offer.
- He or she knows why buyers from you.
- They learn people’s names and use them.
- They are not stiff and formal as if it’s 1950.
- They’re not so casual that callers and visitors wonder if they care at all.
- They never, ever say “no problem.”
- They are attentive and efficient, not brisk, short-tempered or distracted.
- If they are assigned other work to do, it is not work on deadlines.
What would happen to your revenue if you committed to being warm and welcoming, to all and at all times? I see again and again that revenue increases as buyers feel that they are valued and appreciated by a company. There is always a net profit after deducting the compensation package from increased revenue. More work gets done, more clients are serviced, and more revenue is generated due to this one investment.