It takes the average human being around 7 seconds to form a first impression. In business, you don’t always get a second chance, so getting off on the right foot is essential. In this article, we’ll share some tips to help you impress clients at the first attempt.
Curb appeal is a term we usually relate to real estate but it can also make a huge difference in business. If you welcome clients to an office, or you run a store, cafe, bar or leisure or entertainment venue, for example, first impressions count. The way your store or office looks from the outside can make the difference between a customer walking straight past or going to have a look around. It can also impact the way people perceive your brand. Smart, professional-looking premises will give off a good impression to customers looking for a legal firm or medical practice while vibrant window displays and fun signage will encourage shoppers to connect with brands that sell toys or pet accessories, for example.
If you interact with customers face-to-face, or you invite clients to visit you or pop in and take a look, it’s essential to present your business in the best possible light. Clean the windows, make sure your signage is eye-catching and relevant to the brand, contact companies that specialize in concrete repair and landscaping and clear away garbage, weeds and trash cans from the front of the building. Take a look at the premises and put yourself in a customer’s shoes. Would you want to go in or have you got a negative impression?
Customer service can make or break businesses, especially in the age of online reviews and social media. During those first few seconds when you speak to clients or welcome them to your office, store or waiting room, smile, make eye contact, introduce yourself and make that person feel at ease. If you operate phone lines or you have an online business, ensure that you provide responsive customer support. It’s a great idea to add live chat to websites and to check social media and email inboxes regularly. Respond to comments, interact with followers and customers and ensure that your clients feel valued. Use reviews and feedback to make improvements and address issues.
Employee training and company policies can help to create positive first impressions. Consider the impact of a friendly welcome at the reception desk or the door of a restaurant or an offer to help with the bags at a hotel, for example. Implement policies and guidelines to enhance customer service and provide training to help employees learn how to interact with customers.
In business, you often have seconds to impress and you don’t always get a second chance. If you’re looking to attract new customers and enhance your brand image, take these tips on board. Recognize the importance of curb appeal and presentation, prioritize customer service and support, provide employee training and implement customer service policies.