How Y’all Doing? 5 of Our Favorite Small Business GreetersFrom Pam on ‘The Office,’ to Lloyd on ‘Entourage,’ these characters showed us how to make a solid first impression with customers.
Ever notice how some of the most beloved fictional characters on television were also tremendous assets to the small businesses they worked in? These receptionists, assistants, and greeters were the gatekeepers of the brand, offering a crucial first impression to customers and a steady psychological rock for co-workers. Below are just a few of these classic TV heroes – and some of the lessons they can offer entrepreneurs putting out the welcome mat.
Pam Beesly from “The Office”
In the early seasons of the hit NBC series “The Office,” Pam Beesly stood out from her fellow workers at Dunder Mifflin as the main point of contact for the fictional paper company. Small business owners in the real world take note: Pam’s friendly demeanor and patience in handling even the smallest request from both customers and staff made her an indispensable asset. Her attitude, not just towards clients, but the business as a whole reflected the brand in a positive light.
“I think an ordinary paper company like Dunder-Mifflin was a great subject for a documentary,” she shared during the show’s first season. “There’s a lot of beauty in ordinary things. Isn’t that kind of the point?”
Sue Wilson-Levinson from “Veep”
While vice president Selina Meyer may bring the warm smiles and placating jokes, it’s her personal secretary and greeter Sue Wilson-Levinson who sets the tone for the office. While funny in her own way, Sue stands out for her dedication to the job and warm demeanor; disarming possible confrontations ahead of time with smiles and congenial personality.
This is the kind of “keeper of the gate” every small business owner should make an effort to emulate. As “Veep” shows time and again, you never know when the day will take a turn and invite chaos. Having someone like Sue in a position to convey calm on those days anything but safeguards your brand and invites customers to return.
Woody Boyd from “Cheers”
The bar where “everyone knows your name” was just as equally good at making you feel part of the family. Integral to this welcoming experience was Woody Boyd, the charming, goofy bartender who was always quick with a hello, smile, and offer of a cold beverage.
Like the other greeters on this list, the character of Woody was adept at masking his own personal troubles behind a friendly greeting. While the rest of the regulars on the series were often good at seeing through this front, he nonetheless kept up a kind and gracious rapport with customers even when the chips were stacked against him. Woody embodied the perfect bartender and the best kind of first impression for a small city bar.
Jennifer Marlowe on “WKRP in Cincinnati”
Like Pam Beesly on “The Office,” the character Jennifer Marlowe on “WKRP in Cincinnati” was skilled in making a kind and professional first impression on visitors to the radio station. Her intelligence and ability to stay calm through difficult situations also made her a comforting presence to her fellow colleagues.
“I am a receptionist. Receptionists receive,” Marlowe said in one episode. “They offer comfort, provide support, answer a few telephone calls.”
Having a greeter in your own small business like Marlowe, with equal parts professionalism and welcoming charm, offers the best first step for a long term relationship with customers.
Lloyd Lee from “Entourage”
If you manage a small business with plenty of moving parts and unpredictable drama, having someone like Lloyd Lee to take on the role of “eye in the storm” is essential. As the assistant to the acerbic Ari Gold, Lloyd offered a warm demeanor and patient countenance in a Hollywood industry seemingly short on both. As a result, his cheery disposition and loyalty to the brand ended up saving the day and smoothing over troubled situations time and again.
Playing Lloyd brought out the best in me,” actor Rex Lee told Logo. “I was very well-behaved. I like to think that the converse is true. It’s not that I have to escape Lloyd, I just embrace all the good qualities that Lloyd brings out in me.”