5 Ways to Properly Greet a Customer

When entering a store, most customers want to see an employee make a genuine effort to acknowledge and assist them. As a customer in a hurry, I might be just looking for one specific item and may need the assistance of the employee. However, if I am ignored and my time is wasted waiting for help, I will move on to another store. With so many online and physical retail options available now, if that first store doesn’t satisfy my needs, there is always another one that will. That store may very well have sold the product or service I was looking for. However, poor customer service cost them the sale.

Greeting the customer can often be the most important aspect to closing a sale. Take these 5 tips to ensure your customers never walk out your door dissatisfied:

1) Smile with your greeting.

Sam Walton was probably onto something when he hired employees to specifically greet customers entering the store. Customers want to hear words of greeting and see a smile. If the employee at the door appears grumpy and doesn’t even offer a simple “Hello. Welcome to Wal-Mart” the customer will most likely start their shopping experience off in the wrong mood.

2) Stop what you are doing.

Yes, you may be stocking the shelves or taking inventory. While these jobs are important to the everyday functions of the company, your customer is the reason you are stocking those shelves. A customer should be greeted within 30 seconds of entering your store. Stand up from your task and offer a smile and words of greeting. After offering assistance, you can return to the shelves.

3) Show, don’t tell.

When the customer enters your store, they will most likely inquire about a specific product. Rather than sending them to aisle 19, somewhere near the middle, on the 5th-7th shelf down, walk with them to the aisle. Take the time to show them exactly where the product is. It will only take a few seconds and your customer will appreciate your time and effort.

4) Ask questions.

Consider a hair salon that stocks dozens of different products that offer many different functions. If a customer comes in and wants hairspray, selling them just any hairspray won’t do. You may specifically ask them the type of hold, scent, and liquid, spritz, or mist they are looking for. Rather than deal with a customer complaint when the product doesn’t serve the desired function, take a moment to ask further, often imperative questions.

5) Dress professionally.

Because you will be the first face that a prospective customer sees, be sure to dress and act professionally. Avoid wearing provocative outfits that may offend customers. Rather, choose conservative, professional outfits that are appropriate for your work environment. If you present a neat, groomed appearance, your customers will feel more comfortable during a sales transaction.

The second a prospective customer walks through the door, they will be analyzing many aspects of your business. Be sure to offer them a warm, professional greeting, assistance, and quality customer service. Ignoring or downplaying their importance is dangerous for your company’s success. As Sam Walton once said, “There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everybody in the company from the chairman on down, simply by spending his money somewhere else.”

About Andrew Jensen

Andrew Jensen, a business growth, efficiency & marketing consultant, provides business advisory services for clients in the Baltimore; Washington, D.C.; York, Hanover, Lancaster & Harrisburg, PA regions. Andrew advises regarding business growth, productivity, efficiency, business startups, customer service, and online/offline marketing. Follow Andrew on Google+


  1. Maritza says:

    I would like to know how to treat and greet at lost and found job.

  2. I would like to know ,in how many seconds or minutes employee hast to greet a customers, after, when they walke in to the store?

    • Thanks Andrew the above info was excellent. Teresa, the first 30 seconds are the most crucial when dealing face to face or over the phone with the customer.

  3. If I don’t greet my customer within 10 seconds, there is a group of sales people watching my every move that will. I like starting off with a good morning, welcome to rooms to go, have you been In before? I’m gathering Info and The the same time offering assistance or the choice to browse with the alternate of choice greeting. After welcoming a customer back or welcoming them in for the first time, I ask them if they would like to look around or if I can direct them to something. Really takes the pressure off if they want to browse, but let’s them know they are free to look if they choose. Now, , if I get the feeling they are trying to run away faster than I can greet I’ll hit them with a welcome to rooms to go, please feel free to browse all you like and that way they can begin to put they’re guard down. This is the time I’m watching gathering and information getting ready for the qualification when I read approach.

  4. Shana Mitchell says:

    Our new chip readers cause much confusion to our customers, and our cashiers are finding difficulty in explaining how to use them showing impatience and frustration, sending a negative message to the customer. How can I make this a positive experience starting with the cashier and having the new positive information filter down to our customers.

  5. raffy bolohabo says:

    hi im raffy working as a room attendant in hilton hotel in abu dabhi i wouldlike toknow how to greet the guest in a proper way,

  6. KENNEDY GUMPO says:

    what are the most basic ways to treat a customer when he/she starts a fight in the club or restaurant?

  7. mamudou jallow says:

    i think the first impression of the customer is very vital to the establishment thus in getting the attention of customers first politely greet with a smile, overcome any shyness, be confident of whatever you are saying to them and ask short and precise questions to confirm from themlike have u made any reservations? etc. then ask them to follow where you will them to then it continues…..these can be done within approximately 30 second

  8. how to handle an angry and upset customer ?

  9. Sharon Felton says:

    Thank for sharing this post. In one of the blogs on notCY was mentioned that a courteous greeting is a great way to make a positive first impression on a customer, and there is the risk that a customer will not make a purchase in the absence of a proper greeting.

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