The simplest and best way to increase sales is to greet every customer.

To understand how to improve the bottom line through customer service, let's take a step back and do some "reverse thinking." What are the lost opportunities when a customer is NOT greeted?

Greeting customers improves service

One obvious lost opportunity is this: customers who know exactly what they want but couldn't find it. Yes, some will proactively ask for help, but many more will not. In cases like this, not greeting a customer lets an easy sale walk out the door.

Another lost opportunity is in the area of trust. It is a proven fact that people buy more when they feel a sense of trust, and trust is best established in a retail setting by engaging potential customers in conversation.

The other key missed opportunity is for repeat sales. This is a big one. Many shoppers will give a store one chance and if they are ignored or receive poor service, that's it. They won't be back.

When you think in terms of missed opportunities, it's easy to see the customer service impact on sales.

Common Objections

As convincing as the evidence is for the connection between sales and greeting customers, some still have objections.

Objection 1. Some Customers Don't Want to Be Greeted

This is mostly a myth. Almost everyone will respond positively to a greeting that is warm and sincere. Remember, this isn't about being pushy, it's about opening a conversation. Stay away from canned phrases like "Can I help you?" and instead try something a little different. "Is there something specific I can help you find today?" or "Have you been in the store before?"

Objection 2. There Are Too Many Customers to Greet All of Them

There are definitely times when it's more challenging, but solutions are available. One key is to use client flow patterns in the store as a guide for strategically placing staff for maximum interaction with customers. Also, be aware that it is okay to say "Do you mind if I take a second to greet this customer and I will be immediately back to help you?" Once they say "yes," greet the other customer by saying "Thanks for coming in today, I'm helping another customer, but I will be able to help you as soon as I'm finished."

Objection 3. I'm an Introvert

Not everyone has to be the same personality to be successful in retail sales, but greeting customers is not an optional skill. You can train yourself to do this and it will become more natural quickly. One tip that might help: Remind yourself that you are a professional and that a true pro is willing to tackle challenges that don't come easily at first.

Finally, remember that greeting every customer is a simple way to quantify customer service if you don't use a customer experience system. It's a goal that is both clear and specific: Is every customer being greeted or not? Store teams need to challenge themselves to increase the bottom line by committing to greeting every customer.