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.
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.
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.