I picked this from the Herman Trend Alert Herman
Trend Alert: Building Relationships
October 15, 2003
Wal-Mart stores have a long-established tradition of greeting customers as
they walk in the door. The company typically hires senior citizens for this
important position, enjoying their maturity, dedication, and sincerity in
serving customers and representing the company. People shopping in Wal-Mart
Stores have an expectation that, if they have questions or concerns, there
will be someone right there at the front door to help them solve their
We’ve seen other retailers follow this same practice—from restaurants to
boutique shops to automobile dealers. No sales focus or other
responsibilities are involved; just a warm welcome. A number of employers,
particularly those with large facilities, employ greeters—to monitor
security as well as foster those valuable relationships.
Does this make sense? Will more employers assign people to serve as
greeters, to welcome customers and other visitors, answer questions, and
solve problems? Will these employees be solely focused on this role, or will
this responsibility be an additional task assumed by employees with other
duties? What difference will it make?
As technology fills an increasing role in consumer interaction, customers
will feel more separated from companies they do business with. This
depreciation of customer-supplier relationships will erode loyalty, putting
dependable revenue flow at risk. Wise employers will strengthen human-to-
human interaction to build loyalty and consumer satisfaction, particularly
at critical connection points like welcoming people and responding to
complaints. Whenever someone may be confused about how to interact with an
organization, opportunity for human contact will be especially valuable.
Union Regional Medical Center, Monroe, North Carolina, stations official
greeters in the lobby next to the reception desk. These greeters add an
extra welcome to what visitors already receive from the receptionists. They
answer questions, solve problems, and escort people to the correct
elevators, hospital services or facilities, or offices in the building.
Surprisingly, the people who perform this work, on a scheduled basis, are
hospital executives and mangers. Being helped by a high level executive
(yes, even the Chief Executive Officer participates) sends a clear message
to visitors and employees that treating guests (and patients) well is
essential. This is the future.