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The Importance of the Customer Greeting

customer greeting

How important is the customer greeting? When a customer walks into a place of business, how soon should they be acknowledged with a greeting? This is an area most businesses have struggled with for years.

When we begin a mystery shopping program for a client this question is always front and center. When measuring the time it takes for the customer to be greeted upon entering the store, we must consider a variety of things. Staffing the store with the correct number of employees is key of course, but there are other things to consider. Exactly how much time should management allow for a customer to be greeted? In our experience, most retail clients use between 20-30 seconds.

Timings

A retail paint store client (chart above), measures the time it takes for the customer to walk in the store until the customer is greeted. In this case, they allow 20 seconds to be greeted. This is what they train their staff to do. In the chart above, mystery shoppers scored this question among others in the customer experience evaluation. At a glance, the client can see how often this is happening correctly in their stores company wide. One quarter of stores did not meet the company’s requirement of greeting a customer within 20 seconds when entering the store.

That may sound like a short amount of time until you try this. Count up to 20 by thousands, 1001,1002,1003, etc.. By the time it takes you to reach 1,020 you will be very close to the 20 second mark. See the difference? It feels a lot longer when you really “feel” what 20 seconds is like in the real world.

 A brief statement, such as, “Hello, I will be right with you,” can encourage a customer to browse the store until an employee is free to provide help. Once the employee is available, he should approach the customer and ask if they need help finding anything. This opens the lines of communication and it creates instant credibility.

Customer Greeting & NPS

In a recent blog post, I wrote about how a business can improve NPS for a better customer experience. Perfecting greetings plays an important role in the overall customer experience and can improve NPS scores.


While it might sound obvious, how consistent is your team with their hellos and goodbyes? The greeting is your customer’s first experience with your company, so make sure the call starts out on the right foot – keep it informal, ask them how their day is going, be interested in them as a person and show how you value their business.

J.D. Power Reports Immediate Customer Greeting Key to Aftermarket Service Satisfaction

In a just released report, J.D. Power reported on the importance of the greeting in a recent study conducted by the company.

Greeting customers on arrival at an aftermarket automotive maintenance facility can improve customer satisfaction, according to the results of the U.S. Aftermarket Service Index Study released today by J.D. Power in Troy.

Satisfaction scores decline when customers wait more than three minutes before they’re acknowledged at full-service maintenance and repair, quick oil change, and tire replacement businesses, says the data analytics and consumer intelligence company. As a practical matter, greeting customers as soon as possible at any business will provide benefits.

Greeting can be measured quickly and efficiently my utilizing a mystery shopping program for your company. When you see the impact of what just one question makes in the overall customer experience, now is not the time to dismiss this important measurement.

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The Year eCommerce Changed Forever

eCommerce

In a very controversial year, from politics to how COVID was handled, one thing we can all agree on and that is that 2020 changed eCommerce forever. Everyone depended on Amazon, Walmart and even Chewy for their day to day, week to week, and even month to month needs. Beginning in March of 2020, these companies had their challenges, but rose to the occasion.

In face, the chart below shows the percentage of online shoppers making at least one online purchase every two months since the outbreak.

They were made for such a challenge. They had their ducks in a row a long time ago. I can remember back 10 years ago when many retailers were still less than optimistic of creating an eCommerce site for their business. “People like to have the in store shopping experience”, many would say. Many retailers felt that eCommerce was a nice to have, but not necessarily a must have.

Late to the Game in eCommerce

Prior to COVID many retailers did try to develop an online presence. Retail stores like Pier1 come to mind. They are a good case study because when they launched online, they semi-launched. I am certain this had to do with many supply chain issues and operation logistics that were out of their control. However, I have to wonder if they jumped on the bandwagon at the very beginning and worked through it over the years, would they have been in a better place in 2020?

Back in 2015, The Wall Street Journal said this about Pier1:

The downward trend coincided with the launch of Pier 1’s e-commerce initiative in July 2012. The company’s heavy investment in that area showed results with 16% of sales coming from e-commerce in the third quarter, up from 12% a year ago. What Pier 1 failed to anticipate was that growth in e-commerce business wouldn’t simply be additive to its overall sales. It also meant less traffic to its bricks-and-mortar stores where costs are fixed. That left Pier 1 with too much inventory. It plans to close 20 to 25 stores this fiscal year.

“Years ago, Pier 1 was a great place to get these unique products, and they would source all this cool stuff, but once Amazon and Etsy came on the scene, you didn’t need them anymore,” said digital marketing consultant Judge Graham, who said he has previously done consulting work for Pier 1. “Target really broke out and reinvented itself years ago, and Walmart did that by becoming more niche.”

What the Consumer Experienced

As a consumer, one always views things retailers do from a different angle. That is why market research so important. You can never learn enough from your customers.

When a consumer would visit the Pier1 website, it was everything you thought it would be. It was colorful, inviting, full of great products and it loaded quickly. All great, until you focused on an item of interest. When attempting to place the items in your cart, you would first have to provide a zip code. At this point, it was hit or miss if the item would be available to ship to your address. To make things even worse, it might not have been available at your nearest retail store either. How many times will a customer return to browse a site knowing ahead of time they may not be able to get their item?

Let’s say that the item was available in your zip code and you purchase it. The next part of the process is important as well. How long did it take? What condition was it in when it arrived?

If you think the above image is an exaggeration, it is not. It is a good representation of several boxes I personally received during the holiday season.

2021 Prediction

I predict the winners in retail down the road, post COVID, will be the ones who are serious about eCommerce. They will be the ones who are listening to their customers in every touchpoint possible. Data will become even more important than it ever was. It will be needed to not only evaluate the customer experience, but to do some predictive analysis on what consumers are looking for in a provider of goods and services.

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Digital Competitive Intelligence Strategy

Social Listening

Competitive Intelligence is something that business has done for decades in one form or another. From mystery shopping to market research using various methodologies, everyone seems to be spying on everyone else. However, many businesses have been slow to consider using social media and online research, for competitive intelligence, as a way to increase market share and to gain an overall competitive edge.

For the purpose of this blog post, we will zero in on the aspects of using online resources as a way to gain digital competitive intelligence. As artificial intelligence and algorithms continue to perfect, so does the need for good software. Social listening and analytic software options are plentiful and the financial commitment for using them can be huge.

The Forrester Wave™: Social Listening Platforms, Q4 2020

According to Forrester, vendors that can provide advanced analytics, brand measurement in visualizations, and broad tech integrations, position themselves to successfully deliver enterprise-wide consumer and social intelligence to their customers (Digimond reports from the study and is named as one of the top software providers).

Digimind is a Strong Performer

In 2020, a Forrester’s customer survey found that 59% of respondents incorporate social data into market research data sets, 57% into voice of the customer (VoC) data, and 48% into audience segmentation.

It is important to mention that while social data plays a significant role, data collection from non-social media data can be equally important.

Social Media data for competitive intelligence was something we covered in a previous blog.

According to Hootesuite, social media competitive analysis, includes the following:

  • Identify who your competitors are on social media
  • Know which social platforms they’re on
  • Know how they’re using those platforms
  • Understand how well their social strategy is working
  • Benchmark your social results against the competition
  • Identify social threats to your business
  • Find gaps in your own social media strategy

Online Research Strategy Steps

The Importance of Media Monitoring for Businesses on a regular basis with ongoing detailed reporting. Select your brand with at least two top competitors and gather intelligence on a regular basis.

A Competitor Website is home to a great deal of information that can be used for competitive intelligence. From product and pricing information to new product launches to press releases.

Review and support sites should be monitored as well. Customers are very vocal online, providing a good deal of detail of product reviews.

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