Hospitality 101 - 1 "The Greeting!"

Nancy Anderson
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The importance of the greeting cannot be understated. As a matter of fact, it sets the tone for the entire experience that ensues! From the doorman, to the bellman, to the check-in agent or even the salesperson, a properly executed greeting puts the client in a positive frame of mind or if not executed properly, a hard to overcome, negative frame of mind influencing the outcome of the entire experience. The axiom pertaining to the influence and importance of The Greeting is “You only get one chance to make a good first impression!”

Unfortunately, there are more businesses than ever before that consistently do not greet their customers! Cutbacks in personnel, lack of emphasis, lack of training all can be attributed to this evolution. The initial frame of mind of the customer subsequently to not being recognized is the business is too busy and I will not be serviced promptly or correctly or possibly we are not very important to this business!

Conversely, in those cases where the greeting is properly and enthusiastically verbalized, the customer feels appreciated and feels the greeting is propitious of the service that will follow! Lodging, office based businesses and even retail businesses have different enhancements to expand The Greeting and make it even more memorable. Many top lodging businesses expand their hospitality by having fresh fruit at the point of check-in, or a hot beverage available in the area. Offices may do the same and some businesses have bowls of candy and recently I observed a customer oriented bank that Greeted with a wonderful tray of freshly baked Otis Spunklemeyer cookies! (yum yum!)

Many successful retailers chose to assure themselves of consistently executing The Greeting, by having a wholly dedicated, trained greeter at the point of entry of the store welcoming clientèle and directing them to the proper area of the store that will merchandise their predetermined product preference if they have one! In smaller businesses that may only have a few personnel available, some of the negative activities that lead to No Greeting from multi faceted personnel are talking on the phone or conversing with another employee.

Another commonality is the person closest to the initial point of customer entrance is working on the computer and staring at the screen and never breaking their work by even looking at the customer! This is the epitome of indiscretion and conveys to the customer, “you are unimportant and your business does not matter!”

There are many ways to assure ownership and management of a correctly executed greeting procedure:

First and foremost is emphasis is that the customer is the most important work and everything else is secondary! Nothing matters or is important when a customer enters the business. Training must include the proper tenets of the greeting process with no exception.

In the case of phone manners, scripts to be used can be given to the personnel exposed to answering the phone. It should always include the name of the person handling the call to add to the personal touch and warmth of the business! The “script” used in all cases is an advertisement for the business and a reflection of the hospitality culture of that business!

If you are in a hospitality driven position and are seeking new opportunities or merely have a desire to enter into the wide open hospitality field, check out Opportunities abound!

Barbi Snyder is a veteran of the hospitality industry and has held positions in the gaming industry, fitness industry, alternative health care industry and bar and restaurant management business! She may be contacted at

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