Every time I visit a certain local shop, I smile because I can feel the culture--a certain "vibe" that defines place--the moment I walk in the door, it’s there. I was curious because something told me it was intentional. I finally asked how they created that feeling in me every time, and their response was they simply empower employees to be themselves.
What a concept! Be yourselves. And free your employees to be themselves. We interact with so many people every day – either online or in person – but when we sense someone is being authentic, who they truly are, it’s very refreshing!
This doesn’t mean uniforms are out the door or your bullet point scripts aren’t important. It simply means let the employees’ personalities shine in the way they transmit your brand to the customers they come in contact with.
There are many small things we do to create, sustain, and improve our customers’ experience when they walk in our door. Here are, “5 Ways to Make Your Customers Feel at Home:”
1. Dress up the lobby.
Paint. Always fresh paint. Spotless clean, of course. Always have low, upbeat, happy music playing. Visitors can see from the moment they walk in that this is a fun place. Fresh flowers. Pay close attention to the color palette of the entrance.
2. Don't hire a "receptionist."
Instead, hire a "director of first impressions.” This employee’s job is to take great pride in making visitors and customers feel comfortable. Treats them like family and friends the moment they walk in the door. This person should be able to sense whether a customer is an introvert or an extrovert and respond accordingly.
3. Serve food and/or drinks.
Always have chilled bottled waters available or a hot cup of coffee. And no matter the time of day, always make good food available. Don't assume visitors have eaten. If the food you have goes untouched, people on your team will always be happy with leftovers.
4. Make introductions to the owner/manager.
Regardless of who visitors are coming to meet, you'll make a great impression if you bring your top dog into the room, even if just for a quick greeting. Show your visitors how important they are.
5. Offer a send-off gift and a smile.
To cap off a wonderful visit, send guests off with a sweet piece of company swag and a bottled water for the road. Every employee that greets your visitors should do so with direct eye contact and a smile. Lead by example. If you treat your employees well and make them happy, they'll do the same for every customer they interact with.