There are two important interactions that we have with people we first meet or serve in a business form: the hello and the goodbye.
You walk into a coffee shop, perhaps your mind is clouded by the day ahead and you need the first cup of joe to get you going. An employee comes up to the counter and says “What can I get you?”. So you place your order and after taking your money and handing you your well-needed coffee, you are sent away with “Have a good one”. To most people this would be considered a normal interaction, offering exactly what you would expect walking into a coffee shop or fast food restaurant. A solid 5 on the customer experience scale.
What does that “5” get you? It gets you a return visit the next day from the customer and probably the day after that. Most business owners would be perfectly happy with that. But can you get more? I guess if you are happy with your numbers being flat, then more power to you, but if you are a true entrepreneur, then you are always looking for more. More business, more profit, more customers. You want the “10”! So you might be asking, “How can I improve, ‘What can I get you?’ and ‘Have a good one’?” Believe it or not, a very simple modification of your employee’s greeting and send off, can make all the difference in the world.
Let’s start when you get to the counter. Rather than “What can I get you?”, how about “Hi there, My name is John, how can I help start your day?” or maybe, depending on the time of day, “Good Morning!, My name is John. What can I get for you today?” Either greeting is 100% better than a simple “What can I get you?”. You can program a robot to offer that greeting. But our employees are not robots, they are human beings, who have a name. Why not start with making the customer’s experience with your company a personal one? Try delivering those greetings in a cheerful tone. If you are like I am before that first cup of coffee, my brain is searching for a boost, a welcome distraction from all I have to do for the day. Being greeted by a cheerful employee who tells me their name, and asks me what THEY can do for ME, is not a bad way to start the day. Especially since my days are usually filled with doing things for my customers, employees and vendors. It’s nice to start off with someone offering to do something for me.
So you get your coffee and are left with “Have a good one!”. A good “one”? All I am worth to that customer is one? Why am I not offered to have a good 20, or 100, or 10,000? But I am simply offered a measly “one” – numero uno. I don’t know why this irks me so badly, but I hate that phrase. It is lazy and non-personal. If you want that customer’s last interaction with you for the morning to be a good, and perhaps memorable one, then how about something like, “Here you are, please enjoy and I hope you have a great day”. Or “Here is your coffee, thank you for your business and I hope you have a wonderful day” Wow, what a difference. As a consumer, I went from being offered “one” to being told that they hope I enjoy my purchase and then to have a great day. Even if I know I am going to have a rough day, being told to have a “great day” by a total stranger, breaks me away from my expectation for a minute and puts the words ” great day” in my head. My brain was now given permission to look for things that can make my day great or wonderful. Being thanked for my business is always a nice touch too. I don’t have to do business with them – there are always options as a consumer. But it is very nice to be acknowledged, for my decision to buy there.
I find myself using the term, “thank you so much” all the time. After I am handed my coffee, no matter what the clerk says, I reply with “Thank you so much”. I love the reaction I usually get from that employee, especially when a simple “thank you” would suffice. Adding “so much” lets that employee know that I really appreciated their efforts. Imagine how your customer would feel after receiving a “thank you so much”.
When you really think about it, what does it really take to add those couple extra words? But how much can it change the customer’s experience?
If you really want to step it up a notch, train your employees to recognize repeat customers. Get into the habit of greeting with, “Good morning, I am John, may I ask your name?” followed by “Hi Larry, what can I get for you this morning?”. And then when you deliver their order, “Here you are Larry, I hope to see you again soon – have a great day”. Mind blowing, right?
Encourage your employees to remember the names – get them training on this skill, if necessary. Because when that customer comes back the next day or a few days later and is greeted this time by, “Good Morning Larry, good to see you today. What can I get for you this morning?” Larry is going to be a customer for life. If you take one thing away from this article, remember that a person’s name is the MOST IMPORTANT THING to that person. There are a million customers but only one “Larry”. When you go out of your way to not only ask for a customer’s name but then use it and remember it – that is a customer who will tell other people about your business. People like to do business where they feel welcomed and part of a “family”. Using and remembering their name accomplishes that.
If you a take anything else away from this article… DON’T SAY, “Have a good one”! Don’t be lazy… Be Exceptional!
May times in business it is the things that cost nothing and take no effort that can make the biggest impact. Practice this and your business will enjoy greater customer retention and referrals.