Its all in how you do it…


Its all in how you do it…

I was just editing an article we are running in the October PT by Lanier Parking’s Mark Morris. It relates to how customers are greeted or ignored in many businesses.  His point is that you ignore customers at your peril. He gives some great examples (sitting 30 minutes waiting for a waitress in a restaurant etc). His point is that if a person gets near you, you should acknowledge them with a hello, welcome, or good day.  I am all for that.

However my problem is with the next four word you hear. HOWAREYOUTODAY?. Now first of all, I know for a fact that the person talking to me could care less how I am. Second, maybe the way I feel is none of their damn business. Third, it is such a fake greeting that it negates any benefit gained from simply acknowledging someone’s presence.

I feel welcome if someone says "welcome to KMart" or "Good Morning", or simply smiles and acknowledgeds my presence. That is as it should be.

It makes a huge difference in how one feels about a company if the employees engage you reasonably and with feeling. But don’t over do it. The other day I was at Disneyland and although I felt welcome and was greeted by "cast members" throughout the park, I was never asked how I was, was I having a good time, or if they could help me. They simply acknowldeged me and made me feel welcome. I knew that if I needed a restroom or drinking fountain they could help me. What more can one want?

Morris’ 20-10 rule  If a guest or customer is within 20 feet of you, they get a smile and a wave, if they are within 10 feet, they get a smile, wave and "hello".  I think that’s great. It communicates that you are glad someone is there without intruding on their day. Perf.

Morris says also that there are safety and security reasons. If you greet people with a smile, wave and "hello" you are telling them that you are there and you are watching them. If a person comes into a garage to do harm, they know immediately that they are under scrunity. Nothing negative, just that you are there and they aren’t being left alone to perhaps break a car window, or grab a purse.

It just takes a little bit. but don’t over do it…it drives me crazy when people are insincere.


Picture of John Van Horn

John Van Horn

One Response

  1. John,
    I fully agree! The “How are you today?” greeting is difficult to say to a customer and to actually mean it. I have occasionally heard someone say it with conviction, but that’s rare. Most of the time, it’s a “fake” greeting.
    I think that the most effective greeting is a simple “Hello!” or “Good morning!” or even “Welcome to ______.” accompanied by a smile.
    Another pet peeve of mine along these lines is when I say, “Thank you” and I get the response “No problem.” Yes, it is a problem, so please say “You’re welcome” or “My pleasure”. Sorry, that’s a topic for another article.

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