Over the weekend I made trip to visit my brother and nephew in San Diego, California. My brother, my nephew and I had our birthdays on the same month, so we decided to celebrate together with our friends and family in the gorgeous San Diego, La Jolla area.
I love visiting San Diego, known for its mild year-round climate, natural deep-water harbor, and considered a tourism hot spot for anyone who enjoys beautiful beaches, and numerous tourist attractions such as Balboa Park, Belmont amusement park, San Diego Zoo, San Diego Zoo Safari Park.
On the last day, we decided to walk around the La Jolla Cove beach area since the weather turned out to be sunny and warm after several days of overcast and rain. The cove is a breathtakingly beautiful gem. It is often cited as the one of most photographed beach in San Diego. This ocean view’s from just walking around is striking beauty and cannot be overstated.
As we were walking around, I was in the mood for ice cream after a long walk. I felt I deserved a nice little “reward”. So we stopped for a quick treat at Bobboi Natural Gelato for the real thing!
The lady working behind the counter noticed I was a bit out of place in terms of where to place the order, but she created a friendly gesture by asking if this was my first time there. (Not with any sarcastic tone to the question), just simply offering a friendly transition to help a customer get oriented with their business.
I am sure Bobboi Natural Gelato have new customers every day, but the welcoming of someone who has never been there before was critical to ensure people get oriented with their products and services. They didn’t make the mistake of many businesses assuming the customer feeling welcomed and valued.
The lady working behind the counter also took the time (since I was a new customer) to introduce me to their menu and try any flavor I want. It gave me a chance to “test” try the various flavors before buying the ice cream of my choice.
She also made a zesty recommendation of their Gelato Mediterraneo almond, hazelnut, and pistachio blend (no chunks). After trying couple of flavors, I knew that’s the one that would just top my day! As I was getting the ice cream, she also created a friendly small talk. We chatted about where she came from and what brought me to travel to San Diego this time around.
Even though buying an ice cream may seem a minor customer service interaction, I took the friendliness and the ability of the employee to “navigate” me through the experience of their product in a very welcoming way. Now ask yourself, as a business executive, entrepreneur, and manager if your employees are creating the same welcoming experience for new customers? Do your customers feel that someone is there to help them initially or leaves them to wondering around?
The emotional connection that took place and feeling valued cannot be under estimated. So, as leaders how can we create a welcoming experience for our customers?
- Hire the right attitude and train for skill.
- The customer experience begins the moment they walk in the door.
- Greet your customers in a friendly way. Not, “may I help you?” but “Hi welcome to XYZ, how are you today?”
- Help your customers get oriented with your products and services. Don’t assume they know.
- Create an emotional connection to personalize the experience for your customers.