Greeting customers is one of the most fundamental skills your team members can develop to improve customer service. Quality customer service is based on the “personal touch.” Building a human connection between your team members and your customers begins with this small step! As with any skill, though, there are good and not-so-good ideas for how to greet customers, so it’s important to adapt your approach to each customer’s situation. If your efforts are perceived as overbearing or half-hearted, you’ll get the opposite response from the one that you really want, and customers will be put off. On the other hand, a good greeting is critical to a store or restaurant setting, since it encourages visitors to like and trust your staff – which makes it much more likely you’ll build a bond and create enthusiastic repeat customers. If you offer no greeting, a patron may perceive the atmosphere as distant and aloof. If you’d like to improve customer service fast, greeting customers is something you can improve in your business practically overnight. Let’s take a look at some great ways to encourage quality customer service by making a stellar first impression.

Top Tips For Restaurants on How to Greet Customers

Know Your Technical Systems

If your restaurant accepts reservations, it’s crucial every member of your team be aware of how the reservation system works – the first greeting your customers receive will be when they call you to confirm. Employees will be better able to work the systems and their charisma at the same time if they’ve received prior training. The same goes for the point of sale system, during that key window when you should be wishing your guests a good day. For more great advice, see How to Greet Customers as a Waiter at an Upscale Restaurant at The San Francisco Chronicle.

Whenever Possible, Stop What You Are Doing

While a busy restaurant can be very fast-paced, it’s important that each customer or group of customers can receive individual attention when you are greeting them. Focusing on this one task will help you be more conscious of the impression you’re making, which means you’ll do a better job overall. It’s easier to do all the right things – remembering to smile, ask questions, and take a genuine interest – when you don’t have anything else to distract you. 5 Ways to Properly Greet a Customer at the Andrew Jensen blog can help.

Top Tips For Stores on How to Greet Customers

Manage the Flow of Customers

Retail consultant Bob Phibbs has a lot of advice over at Bob’s Blog about how to manage the flow of your customers when there are too many to give each a great deal of undivided attention one at a time. It can be tricky at first, but you can politely interrupt your conversation with one customer to greet another, set the expectation that you’ll be back shortly when greeting the second customer, and then continue or finish your business with the first – all without creating any offense.

Be Aware of Signs and Responses

In contrast to Bob’s position above, there may be some times when a greeting can backfire. In Beyond Hello: Greeting Customers in Your Store, the blog Retail Minded offers some good hints about how to use customer “signals” to know how to follow up your greeting. If your greeting gets a strong positive reaction, feel free to follow up immediately with an “interactive” question. If the response is noncommittal, it may be appropriate to give the customer more space – and if no response at all, keep an eye on the customer’s behavior for a little while to figure out the best next move. Of course, stores and restaurants have a lot to learn from one another when it comes to greeting customers. Don’t be afraid to “mix and match” ideas until you have a good idea what your clientele responds to best. If your business offers a positive, engaging atmosphere, you’ll be more likely to help put your customers in the right frame of mind and build a lasting relationship!