The Etiquette of Customer Service: How to Greet Clients With Warmth & Friendliness

Whether you run a service based or product based business, the success of your business hinges on the connection you make with each and every client who walks through your door.

Whether it’s a new client or a repeat client, the way you make that person feel while they’re in your “place of business,” is exactly what will make them choose your products or services over others when they choose to buy again next week, next month, or even next year.

From my experience as a business etiquette consultant, I’ve found that customer service is not simply about extending a “satisfactory” level of politeness toward your clients. Anyone can say “please”, “thank you”, and “I hope to see you again”.

Excellent customer service is about conveying authenticity and confidence to every one of your clients and at any time they’re in contact with you or your business.

Authentic customer service will make your clients feel as though they are the most important client you have.

Confident customer service will help them feel reinforced in their decision that they’ve chosen the most competent professional in your industry, and the right business to work with.

Authentic and confident customer service is something you can absolutely implement today, and it all starts with your demeanor, body language, and voice.

Here are some tips to get started.

1. Keep Your Gaze Level High and Soften Your Eye Contact

When your gaze level is high, it projects self-assurance. When your eye contact is soft, it projects warmth.

These two qualities combined will achieve both authenticity and confidence, and can instantly make your client feel welcome and special.

If you have a physical store, when a client walks into your shop, make sure you stand to greet them and physically lift your head high enough so you are looking up at your client.

Lifting your head high will automatically lift your gaze level and you will project a natural aura of confidence.

Quite often we are so busy doing two or three things at the same time we assume that simply raising our gaze level to look at another person is enough.

But your client will instantly pick up on this lack of effort and it can make them feel unappreciated and unwelcome.

2. Use Poised and Calm Movements

Subconsciously your client will be looking at every movement you make. From the way you greet them when they enter your store, to they way you approach them when they need advice or recommendations.

Your movements should reflect the ambiance you want your business to communicate.

If authenticity and confidence is what you want to communicate, then this needs to come through in your body language. Poised and calm movements will convey this exact message.

Poised and calm movements project a lot of confidence and will make your client feel they’re in the hands of a competent professional.

If you run around your office looking flustered and unsure, your client will probably have second thoughts about using your services next time.

When aiming for poised and calm movements, your posture is the first element to focus on.

As well as keeping your head high (for good eye contact), be sure to keep your shoulders back and your stomach tight.

If it helps, imagine an invisible cord attached to the top of your head, lifting you up as you walk around.

3. Use a Soft But Confident Voice

Your voice is the next area of your nonverbal language that clients will subconsciously read.

Although the words you choose are important, it’s your volume, tone and enunciation that project the most authenticity and confidence.

Your volume should not be too loud. Aim for a volume that is loud enough to be heard by the client with whom you are speaking, but not loud enough for every other client in your store to clearly hear what you’re saying.

This may be more difficult in some smaller stores, but you can at least try different volumes and see what works best for your environment.

Your tone should be slightly lower than normal, but not too low that you sound like you’re reprimanding the client. When you lower your tone, it projects authority and confidence, which will help your client to feel well looked after in your care.

Lastly, and probably most importantly is your enunciation, which should be clear and comprehensible. Quite often when we’re trying to lower our volume or tone, our words become mumbled. For clear enunciation, each word should be separate in the sentence and the first and last letter should be clearly heard.

4. Address Your Clients by Their Name

Using your client’s name during meetings, appointments or consultations, will move them from feeling “just like every other client” to feeling like “the most important client you have”.

Let me explain by using a practical situation:

Imagine you run a beauty salon. When a client approaches the reservation desk to announce their arrival, immediately respond with, “Of course Mrs X. Follow me, please”. Or, if it is a regular client and you’re on a first name basis try something like, “Welcome back Susan. You’re in room 3 today”.

By simply using your client’s name during their visit, you will make them feel like they’re an integral part of your business.

If you would like personal consultations with me on how to improve or refine your customer service, please find out more about my Elite Coaching Sessions. I’d love to work with you.

Etiquette of Customer Service

Photo courtesy of StockImages/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

About Kara

Kara Ronin is the founder of Executive Impressions. She is an executive coach who specialises in leadership presence, social skills and business etiquette. She is also the creator of Bestselling Udemy course, Business Etiquette 101. Kara’s advice and unique perspectives have been featured in Time Inc., Business Insider, Ignites Europe (a Financial Times Service), The Muse, The Local France, The West Australian, and more. Kara works regularly with lawyers, investment bankers, and finance professionals to help them build presence, authority and influence in business. Get Kara's insights delivered straight to your inbox