Just the other day I walked in to my credit union and was greeted by one of the managers. I walked another 20 feet and was greeted by a second employee. Finally, when I stepped up to the window, the teller greeted me by my last name. Talk about feeling important. I felt it.

When a customer is greeted by an employee that they come within a certain distance of, it is commonly referred to as the “10-Foot Rule”. That is, whenever an employee comes within 10 feet of a customer, the employee greets the person with a cheerful hello, or simply makes eye contact, smiles and nods his or her head.

Think about your own company. Have you ever noticed how most customers seem to immediately warm up and feel more comfortable after being greeted by one of your managers or employees? As Charles Lamb, the great English essayist once said, “Damn it, I like to be liked.” Your customers like to be liked. It’s as if they have a sign on their forehead that reads “Make me feel important."

Related: The 3 Things You Need to Do When You've Upset Your Customer

It is not just common sense to treat your customers with respect, it is downright savvy marketing. With so much competition in the market place today, you and your employees can give your company a distinct advantage by creating the added value of being a friendly place to do business. It can be one of the key ways your company can create a perceived difference in the eyes of your customers.

When you stop to think, this kind of strategy will work best when we consistently set the example ourselves.  This applies not only when using the 10-foot rule with our customers, but with our own employees. In other words, the way we treat our employees is the way they will treat our customers. Makes sense doesn’t it?

One of the main reasons employees leave a company is not because they can make more money elsewhere, but often they leave because they get the feeling they don’t make much of a difference, and are not given positive recognition.

Related: The Simple Way to Find Out What Motivates Your Employees

Keep in mind, you are not only in the business of providing a service or product to your customers, you are also in the self esteem and “feel good” business. People want to feel good about the money they spend to purchase the products or services they need and want. They want to be acknowledged as a human being for who they are. They also want to feel important. You and your team can help them do both, when they visit or call your business. It stands to reason that your team’s mission should be to make sure that your customers feel good about themselves, and are happy with the purchases they make from your company.

So, I encourage you and your team to adopt and start using the 10-foot rule. Regularly acknowledge and greet your customers. When this starts to happen on a regular basis, you and your team will be building your profits and creating a loyal lifetime relationship with more and more of the customers you serve. 

Related: When Your Employees Are Millennials and Your Customers Are Boomers