Beyond Hello – Greeting Customers In Your Store

When it comes to saying hi, “hello” seems pretty safe. But beyond hello, how you greet your customers can either make or break their experience in your store. For starters, you don’t want to scare them off with an in your face approach that doesn’t allow them to move at their own pace. Yet then again, you don’t want them to feel like they have no support while visiting your business. So just how do you find the perfect combination of greeting customers so that they will enjoy their shopping experience without feeling overwhelmed by store associates?

Read Their Signals

Okay, so we aren’t talking an easy to read guide on how each specific customer wants to be approached. But what you can do is educate yourself and your team on how to “read” the clues each unique customer gives off so that you can communication with them more effectively. There are three immediate things to look for when talking to customers after they have walked into your store.

  1. Eye Contact – Are they making it? If so, this allows you to be more direct – both in time and words –  in your follow up from “hello”. If they don’t give you any eye contact, this is an indicator to back off for a little bit. Give them some space and then offer your willingness to answer questions or provide help a few minutes into their shopping experience.  
  2. A Smile – If a smile is included with eye contact, this is a welcomed sign that the customer is approachable and more likely to be okay with some chit chat. Don’t overdue it, though. Say hello, then follow up with an immediate question or comment to engage your customer. Make it an easy one, though, such as, “have you visited our store before” or “isn’t it amazing outside  today”. From there, base your next moves on their responses.
  3. Their Response – Following up on each response they make throughout their entire store visit is essential, but reacting to their initial response after your first “hello” is key. If you get no eye contact or no response, simply let them be. If you get a quiet, casual “hey”, give them some space before you offer any support or ask them a question. If their response is friendly and engaging, then respond right away with an interactive question or comment. Continue to analyze their responses as their time in your store continues. It’s likely every customer will want their space at one point, so don’t over-due it with conversation – no matter how friendly your customer is.

It’s important to remember that no customer is the same, therefore your approach towards supporting them should not be, either. It may take some time to perfect how customers are greeted in your store, but following the above steps in identifying how you can help them can help you. No formal checklist should be made on what to say exactly to every new customer, but instead focus on how you can help each unique customer. “Hello” should be the only must do on any checklist you may have. As for everything else that may follow? Let that be up to you, your team and each customer that walks through your door.


  • Mary Ellen
    September 15, 2010

    Thank you for this! I am someone who likes a lot of space when I’m shopping and so often I feel like red meat thrown in a pool of piranas. Yikes!!!

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