Create A Welcoming Environment

Creating a warm, inviting environment makes customers feel right at home and encourages them to linger a little longer. Think about some of your favorite places to eat, drink or shop. There is a very successful boutique in Little Rock that offers complimentary hot coffee on a side table near the front door; it’s always a welcome sight for customers, especially when the weather is cold.

This article addresses the Top 10 Things to Make Your Customer Feel Welcome. Here they are in brief detail, and, best of all, they’re all free to you:

Smiling in Person
A small but important gesture, a smile is a first impression that goes a long way.

Smiling on the Phone
A bright, upbeat tone in your voice can help customers respond positively.

Store Appearance
This includes the parking lot and, of course, the storefront. Make a habit of tidying up during downtime.

Employees on Breaks
Offer employees a place of their own to take breaks, so your customers don’t get confused about who is available and who is not.

Electronic Welcome
If your business is Web-based, ask visitors to sign up for your e-newsletter. Send them a simple welcome message, and invite them to come back again.

Addressing by Name
If you have the opportunity to address a customer by name, whether in person, on the phone or via email, do it. A personal touch makes for a memorable experience.

Focus on Customer
Pay attention when a customer is speaking to you. Avoid unnecessary distractions in order to truly listen to their needs.

Personalize Your Communications
When possible, learn something about your customer, and use that new found connection when applicable.

Say “Thank You”
This is another big one! Thank each and every customer at the end of a transaction or communication.

Keep Communicating
Make an effort to continue the dialogue with your customers even when they are not buying from you. Send brief emails or mail postcards about new products or promotions.

Guest Service Testimonials from Flippin (Guest Post by Scott Sudduth)

Welcome to Arkansas’s guest service training goes a long way to make our visitors feel welcome and help our communities profit. However, the biggest reason I’m passionate about these sessions is that they help Arkansans succeed on an individual level! Let me share a story that illustrates my point.

Earlier this fall, Flippin High School’s business class students became the first high schoolers in Arkansas to receive “First Impressions” guest service training certificates. Shortly after their training, Alyssa and Lance went to job interviews, taking their “First Impressions” certificates with them. Both of them got the jobs they wanted! Here’s what Alyssa and Lance had to say:

Dear Mr. Sudduth,
I want to thank you for taking the time to come to our school and present to us. It really opened my eyes on the workforce. With what you taught us I took that to my interview and got the job. You did an excellent job… I would love for you to come back again!

Mr. Sudduth,
Thank you for coming the other day. It was really fun and interesting and the funny thing was that I had a job meeting the next day and I did everything you said to and I went home and the next day they called and said I got the job. Thank you. You really helped me.

Guest service is all about making other people feel special and significant. But Alyssa’s and Lance’s stories remind us that learning these skills is one of the best things we can do for ourselves as well. When we commit to serving our guests with excellence, everyone wins – the visitor, the community and the worker!

Welcome to Arkansas Promotion Kit Available

If you’ve signed up to host a “Welcome to Arkansas First Impressions Guest Service Training” class, the next step is to spread the word! This free promotion kit gives you a fun and easy way to market your session jumping castles for sale.

Highlights include:
• Step-by-step instructions to walk you through the process
• Customizable forms to help promote your event

Tips to make your session an easy success, like who to invite and how to gain media coverage