My family and I are enjoying a spring break get-away in Memphis. We came to visit the National Civil Rights Museum, the Slave Tavern and Beale Street. Yesterday my kids were in the mood for pizza and using my iPhone, I quickly found a cool-sounding pizza parlor online. The description said the parlor featured movies, books and famous pizza. We quickly pulled up the address on my husband’s iPhone and headed out for pizza. So quick in fact, that I didn’t take the time to read reviews, something I nearly always do.
We entered the pizza place in the middle of lunch time, yet no one was there. No customers, I mean. An employee emerged from the back and said, “Can I help Ya’ll?” Her body language was almost hostile. Her tone was defensive. I felt like we had accidentally barged in on a small family funeral. I said, “Are you open?” I felt I had to ask that because she came across like we were intruding and again, no customers were present. “Yeah, we’re open.” she said. Immediately, I wanted to leave because I didn’t like her attitude. We all felt so very unwelcome. In fact, I turned to my husband and suggested that we walk until we found something better. But my husband ushered us to a table. The lady that still stood near the kitchen didn’t walk us to a table. My husband did.
By now, I am uptight. Several minutes passed before the lady from the kitchen area came to our table. She said, “Would ya’ll want drinks or anything?” Seriously, would we want drinks or anything? I said, “Of course, we want drinks.” Yes, I had major attitude and my kids and husband feared I was about to embarrass them. “Well, what do ya’ll want?” Again, seriously?
The entire service experience was awful. I also noticed there were no books or movies as listed in the description. We paid $75 for below average food and shockingly bad service. As I sat there fuming, my husband began to read reviews on Yelp. The reviews were every bit as bad as the service we were experiencing. How could I have not read the reviews before choosing this place.
Two Lessons From My Experience
So, I have 2 lessons here. One, always read reviews on Yelp or a site you trust before choosing a restaurant you’re trying for the first time. Two, and this is really my point, be welcoming to customers.
First impressions set the tone for the customer’s experience. When you start out warm, friendly and welcoming, everything else will go very well, no matter what may happen later in the interaction. When your first impression is cold, defensive or in any way unwelcoming, everything will be perceived by your customer as negative, no matter how good things may truly be.
Starbucks employees are trained to “be welcoming” and that is why you are verbally greeted the moment you walk into a Starbucks store. QuickTrip, a super successful convenience store chain headquartered in Tulsa, greets every single customer upon entering the store. Every single customer gets a friendly and welcoming greeting when entering. Being welcoming means greeting customers immediately, putting a smile on your face, squarely facing customers and warmly welcoming customers into your place of business.
Being welcoming is not hard to do. It’s exactly what we all do when we open our front doors and welcome guests into our home. Be welcoming so that you get your customer experience off to the best possible start. Be welcoming so you don’t make your customers wish they hadn’t chosen you.
Now, I’m off to Yelp to post my review….
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