Last week we looked at defining customers as guests and clients and how those definitions take us away from thinking of customers as transactions.  As I thought more on these definitions, three words stood out, welcome, honor, and protection.  This week I want to look at the first of those three words, welcome.

When you think about welcome, what do you see?  What is welcoming?  What do you do to welcome people to your home?  What is welcoming behavior?

When my wife and I are expecting people for dinner or a party, we do a lot of work.  We vacuum, clean rooms, buy drinks, cook food, mow grass, weed the garden, the list goes on and on.  It usually turns into a blessing in disguise as we get a lot of cleaning done that we’ve been putting off.  Anyway, we put in a lot of effort to make things look as good as possible.  We want to make our guests comfortable and give them an experience of being at a home away from home.  However, this is only the preparation for welcoming.  The real deal is in the actions that follow.

When guests arrive, we give them a very cordial greeting. We open the door and make them feel like they are at a place where they can rest and enjoy themselves.  We want them to know that they don’t have to do any work; we are there to do things and serve them.

Isn’t that a real welcome?  You prepare a place of warmth and invite people in to be served and enjoy themselves.

Now put all of that into the context of your business.  Are you welcoming your guests?  Have you prepared a place of warmth?  Do you invite them to be served and to enjoy themselves?  Think about it, what are you doing to welcome people and move them from feeling like customers to feeling like guests?

Look around your workplace, does it scream, “Welcome to this place that is warm, friendly and comfortable?”  What do you do every day to prepare a place that’s a home away from home for your guests?

Take another look.  Are you, your employees and your policies and procedures working for the guest or do they make the guest work?

Just how welcoming is your business?  What can you change to make it a welcome place for guests instead of a place for a transaction?

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