The Importance of Hello in Business

Your greeting is an integral part of your customer service, as it allows you to connect with your customers and staff members. "Hello" is a perfect starting point because it is simple, friendly and asks nothing in return. It is the ultimate conversation starter, and because customer service is a conversation - not a lecture - "Hello" sets the stage for an experience of your business that is warm, professional and customer-focused. Here are the best ways to use your greeting as a way to create a tether between your business and your customers:

Your greeting can be a differentiator. Get creative and think about the ways your business greets your customers and potential clients in person but also in written and online communication. Use language that expresses the concept of your business. Oscar, a new health insurance company introduces itself to new customers on its website homepage with "Hi, we're Oscar." At Ippudo, a ramen restaurant with outposts in 10 countries, the staff loudly greets every table as they are seated with a loud shout-out, in Japanese, of "welcome!" The way you reach out to your clients can be a unique reminder of your brand and the experience that you stand for.

Internal Hello. Make sure your greeting standards for your customers are also echoed and utilized internally. I always say, it is hard speaking to strangers, so we must "warm up" by connecting with someone we know first. Your greeting is your first point of engagement with your staff. Use an internal greeting (stop to say hello and give a handshake or a high five) that helps to warm your team members up and get them ready for a productive workday of engaging your customers and clients.

Be the First. As a manager or leader you must be the first to say "hello" to the staff and to greet your customers. You can lift the spirits of your team members as they start their day by greeting them, asking about their morning, or checking in on their progress with a project or client. Your leadership and your positive energy will help buoy the team throughout the day. Remember: service is all about a conversation, so if you can start one with your team members, you will grease the wheels of friendliness and get them ready to serve with a smile.

Embodying Hello. It's not just what you say that is important, how you say it makes all the difference. Consider your body language and what that transmits when you are greeting your team. Consider your vocal color as you speak the words "good morning"--do you sound like you think it is a good day indeed? The British store Top Shop created a phone answering system using a gentleman with a distinctive British accent. This sells the brand and sets you up for an authentic experience even here in the States. In your business, the tone of your voice, the speed of your speech and the way you hold yourself as you speak tells a story that makes an impact and reinforces your brand.