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The 5′ – 10′ Rule

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ELEVATE YOUR STANDARDS

The most important commercial relationship that exists today is that of an organization and its customers. In our ever-changing business climate, a customer can take on several forms. Define them as “customers” or clients” or other businesses within a B2B relationship; even a company’s employees are its clients. The bottom line is everyone either has a customer or is one.

Research shows that 70% of satisfied “customers” will do business with you again and 91% of dissatisfied customers will never have a repeat interaction with your business. To elevate matters, consumers tell more than twice as many people about poor experiences than positive ones. With higher expectations than ever, it’s crucial to start this relationship on the right track. So how can you provide customer excellence and stand out amongst competitors?

Start with small acts of kindness. The most effective way to kickstart the making of a positive impression is by incorporating a simple customer service tactic called the 5’-10’ Rule, sometimes referred to as 10’- 5’ Rule or the ‘Zone of Hospitality’. This is a widely-used service industry tactic applicable to any business setting and it is how you can begin to change the culture of your organization.

The 5’-10’ Rule shows a reflection of the values set by your business, and by extension the values of the individuals within that organization, when applied to organizational standards of service excellence. Cultivating a caring environment where employees respect one another elevates positivity and promotes ownership of the organization’s values. After a while, this becomes a habit of practice within a company culture. A happy employee will spread that habitual positive attitude during interactions with internal and external individuals, promoting the standard and representing impressive company values.

How to Apply

Within 10 feet of an individual, you should acknowledge them with some form of expression. Examples are:

  • Making eye contact
  • Nodding
  • Smiling
  • Waving

Not acknowledging an individual in front of you can be awkward for both of you and cause undue stress. Any indication of presence lightens any discomfort that could otherwise occur.

Within 5 feet of an individual, you should acknowledge the person verbally. For example:

  • “Hello/Hi”
  • “Good morning/afternoon”
  • Responding to anything they might say first

At this proximity, it can be excruciatingly awkward to stay mute. Especially in situations where you don’t
recognize the person, they might just be your coworker’s client/customer, and by extension your own.

There is Always Time for a Smile

Next time you’re rushing to that next meeting, look up and give the people you’re zooming past a smile or a quick hello. The difference it could make to their day, and your own, is bigger than you might anticipate.

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