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Customer service is one of the hottest topics within the business world. But one of the odder points is that this has been true since around 1956. This marks the point when an influential report really asked why people decide on companies and products. This was the birth of both modern marketing and customer service. However, there’s certain recent trends which have reinvented this concept.

One of the biggest trends at the moment involves theft deterrents. This tends to consist of a two-tiered system. The first involves helping to make customers feel comfortable and at home. Greeters have been a huge game changer in this regard. And it’s easy to see why when one really investigates how greeters influence a customer’s overall mood.

When a greeter says hello it goes far beyond a simple greeting. To be sure, that is what a customer is actually hearing. But we’re fairly far into human psychology at this point in history. We know that communication goes far beyond simple words. There’s also an unconscious communication taking place between customer and greeter.

The general intent there is to tell a customer that they’re not just in a random location. The customer has been welcomed into a social environment. And part of being in a social environment involves paying attention to the common rules of one’s culture. One of the biggest social rules of course being that people don’t take each other’s possessions.

Framing things this way can change things around in a fairly dramatic way. Normally people walk into unfamiliar environments in a similar way to how they might walk out onto a beach. These people are basically all set to just treat the environment as if nobody would be hurt or impacted by major changes. And this includes just taking things from the environment. People think nothing of taking pretty shells from the beach.

And in turn, many people think nothing of taking something from a faceless corporation whose store they’ve just walked into. Lack of theft often simply comes down to knowledge that one might be caught. The actual intent might well still be there though.

And this intent translates into less noticeable types of theft. For example, someone buying expensive organic produce might find the cheapest non-organic nut’s product code. They might then use that code at the self-checkout when buying their expensive organic products.

This all changes when someone feels that they’ve entered into a social contract. The vast majority of people who feel that way won’t steal. But this is also where the other aspect of a greeter’s role in customer service comes into play. A greeter also deters theft by calling people out on potential crimes.

A greeter seldom has any real power to detain a person. But again, there’s an element of social responsibility and agreement which comes into play. Just knowing that a greeter can embarrass someone in front of other customers is usually enough to deter even determined thieves. Greeters are one of the newer forms of customer service. But one can see a clear evolution there from the earliest days.