Everyday we give greetings, and this last few days reminded me how they can add - or subtract in customer communications.
I was in Utah with my wife Dru Scott Decker at the Stein Eriksen Lodge with Speakers Roundtable, an amazing group of people. (More about Speakers Roundtable later.) Stein Eriksen Lodge provides luxury, free DSL (one thing that makes me WANT to give them positive customer feedback), and great service - with one exception.
Outside the registration lobby all their staff members were very friendly. But it didn't feel good as we walked in and out to get to our lodge several times a day. Each bell man and each baggage handler greeted us with a big smile and "How are you?" I said to myself, 'Well trained.' And then began realizing it was a bit too much the same and not a plus.
As I discussed it with Dru Scott, who is a researcher and author on customer service (and communications), she explained why. Service providers should always add but rarely require. When the bell person says, Good Morning" or "Good day" he or she adds. But when he says, "How are you?" this requires a response even though a ritual answer. Multiply this by five people at the front door. It's a lot of requests for a response.
Amazing what greetings can communicate and add - when done right. Little things make a big difference in our communications.
For more on customer communications, see Fast and Friendly Language in Customer Satisfaction: The Other Half of Your Job, by Dru Scott, Thompson Publishing Crisp Series.