There’s a great old saying in Swedish that every child who is born has the right to feel welcome. The same applies to your customers. Regardless of whether you run a store, work in a post office, manage a hotel or run a factory, the first order of business is to get that person to feel welcome.
The first step is to stop using the word customers. Think of them as guests, no matter what you work with. Today you might call them visitors, tourists, clients, passengers, patients, customers, students, travelers or tenants, but every time they call on you they are guests of your business. If there is a guest, there is a host. And a host practices hostmanship.
Starting right now all customers in this book are now guests.
When I walk into a restaurant, there are several things that make me feel welcome:
Information – There should be a menu outside the door
Design – Show that someone cares
Cleanliness – Everything from the hostess’s blouse to crumbs swept off the floor
Safety – If it’s below ground, I want to see an emergency exit
Greeting – Someone should notice I am there
Attention – I don’t want to sit and wait forever
Friendliness – It doesn’t hurt to smile
Listen – I want to be heard
Speed – Service, service, service
Price – I don’t want to be overcharged.
All these things affect me before I’ve even eaten anything.
As an employee of a company, you can impact some of these things; as a manager, nearly all of them. The key is that when the guest gets up to leave, it is not only the food she remembers but everything from your friendliness to the pretty pattern on the tablecloth.