Customers often make a decision about your business within the first few minutes
of visiting your establishment. Make sure those initial moments count by focusing on your first impression with your customers.
We have seven ways to create a positive, long-lasting impression that will transform first-time visitors into loyal customers.
When a customer walks into your business, are they greeted right away in a friendly manner? Train your staff to say hello to everyone who walks into your establishment. This simple act develops an immediate rapport and puts a possibly apprehensive new visitor at ease.
The condition of the office will also play into a customer's first impression. If the place is messy and disorganized, the customer might assume that your staff is messy and disorganized as well. Encourage service reps to keep their stations neat throughout the day to exude a professional image to everyone who approaches.
Like the appearance of your office, the appearance of your staff can put a customer at ease – or turn them off – within the first few moments in your business. Part of customer training should be in teaching staff how to dress appropriately for their job and industry. Dress codes can also ensure staff comes to work looking appropriate every day.
Does your office exude an air of professionalism, or does it appear too loose and casual to first-time customers? In some industries, a more casual environment is appropriate, but new visitors should still get the impression that your staff is competent and ready to do a good job for them.
Some industries do require customers to wait for assistance from time to time. If a first-time visitor will have to wait for service, make sure they are greeted right away and made comfortable for their wait. Offering coffee and tea in your lobby, along with comfortable furnishings and even soft music, can make the wait more enjoyable.
Customers come into your business for a reason, and the way your staff handles that initial inquiry will make all the difference in whether that customer comes back for more. Employees that are adept at actively listening to customer issues and finding appropriate solutions efficiently will always make the best first impression on new customers.
The Big No-No's
In addition to all the "dos" we have listed above, there are a few "don’ts" to avoid as well, including:
• Personal conversations between staff members in front of customers
• Negative conversations between staff and anyone in the office
• An "overworked" attitude that conveys to customers your employees are too busy for them
• Eating, making personal phone calls, or gum chewing in front of customers
When you are able to focus on the positive suggestions and avoid the negatives at all costs, your customers will get a good first impression of your business nearly every time they walk through your door. That important initial attitude will make all the difference between a one-time visitor and a regular patron for your company.
- Meredith Estep