18 Nov Have Them at Hello!
Have Them at Hello
First impressions really count. A positive first impression (a warm greeting, a smiling face) sets the tone for a positive overall client experience. A negative first experience has the opposite effect. And a truly negative first impression (being ignored by the person behind the counter or greeted by a surly employee) can get a client’s visit off to a start from which it might never recover.
As trivial as talking about greetings may sound, getting the greeting right is essential to providing a first-rate client experience. So it’s worth investing some time and effort to examine how clients are greeted by all team members in the practice. At your next team meeting, discuss the following components of making a positive first impression so that everyone becomes more aware of how clients may perceive them, and talk about what team members can do to set a positive tone from the moment the client steps in the door.
- It seems so simple, yet so many people in the service business seem to have trouble remembering to practice this utterly essential skill. Non-verbal communication accounts for 55 per cent of communication, so what your face (and body) convey makes a huge difference. A warm smile will convey more than anything you might actually say in words.
- Acknowledge the client as soon as possible. Staff should be aware of clients entering the practice and be ready to acknowledge them as they enter by smiling and making eye contact. Even if the staff member greeting the client is on the phone or taking care of another client, this simple act will send a message that you know the client is waiting and that you’ll assist them as soon as possible.
- Greet the client in a way that says, “We’re happy to see you.” There are a lot of different ways to say “hello”. Say it with warmth and sincerity. Some client service representatives simply go through the motions because they are required to do so. No one wants to be greeted in an insincere manner, so make it a habit to greet each and every client from the heart. This takes practice, and the right attitude will help you get it right every time.
- Use the client’s (and pet’s) names. People love the sound of their own name. When you greet a client and use their name it will demonstrate that you care enough to remember their name and strengthen the bond between the client and the practice. (The client doesn’t need to know that team members have the tools available to remind them of their name and their pet’s name right in front of them (i.e. computer, file, etc.)). Greeting the client by name will be sure to capture their attention and help to make their overall experience a positive one.
Implementing this simple protocol will get client visits off to a great start. And remember, to be truly effective, this protocol need to be followed by every staff member, with every client, every time.