You’ve been there. You walked into a store and instead of being greeted by a genuine smile and warm handshake, all you got was a kiosk with a keyboard and a sign that reads: “Sign in here for assistance” or something similarly glib.

There were probably multiple sales associates in sight and half of them did not even look like they were working with another customer.

Only with concerted effort and if you did manage to finally make eye contact with someone, you probably got the finger – pointed to the sign in desk that is – or a perfunctory “You can put your name on the list and someone will be with you in a few minutes.”

It’s the 21st century version of the take-a-number system. Sure, it’s efficient. It helps customer service associates maintain order.

But it also makes me feel like just a number right from the beginning of my experience. By all means make sure you serve me before the person who walked in behind me, but that initial personal, verbal greeting with a smile at least sets a positive tone for the customer experience. It lets me know you care and appreciate that I took time to visit.

Nowadays when your only opportunity to connect with a customer and provide a great experience might be online, that precious and rare chance to engage with them in person is one you cannot squander.

Through providing the kind of customer experience that delights your prospects, you could not only gain your next customer but also start building customer loyalty right away.

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