Say "Hello" to Repeat Customers

Say "Hello" to Repeat Customers

November 17, 2015 | 1 min to read

Last April, a Tokyo department store added an unusual new employee to their roster—a kimono-clad robot named Aiko Chihira.

Aiko speaks sign language, blinks at regular intervals, and even lip synchs her way through a duet with opera singer Shoko Iwashita.

But her principal duty is simpler: she says "kon'nichiwa" to every customer who walks through the door.

The Perfect Customer-Greeting Machine?

It may seem like overkill to use such sophisticated technology on such a simple task, but greeting customers is hardly trivial—customer service notables from Ritz-Carlton to the Apple Store train their employees to offer an affable greeting to each and every customer.

Imagine you've just "hired" Aiko and you can program her to be the perfect customer-greeting machine. What would you have her do?

It might go something like this:

1. She'd Greet Everyone Within Ten Feet or Ten Seconds

AT&T experimented with different greetings in their retail locations and found that when customers were greeted within ten feet or ten seconds of entering the store, wait times seemed shorter, staff seemed friendlier, and the overall experience was more positive across the board.

2. She'd Ask, "Have You Been Here Before?"

How do you usually answer when a clerk asks, "Can I help you?"

If you're like most people, you say "No thanks, just looking."

In his bestselling book, The E-Myth, Michael Gerber explains that when retailers switch their default greeting to "Have you been here before?" their sales have increased an average of 16%.

3. She'd Remember Names

Of course, a good chunk of customers are already familiar—especially in a social environment like a game store. In those cases, go the extra mile and remember names. It's been shown to be worth it again and again and again.

The Human Touch

Of course, your employees aren't robots. They can manage all three of these, and with a sincerity Aiko could never replace.

Make sure they do with every player that walks in the door!

By Matt Neubert


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