Did you know that you only have seven seconds to make a good first impression? As human beings, we are very quick to form an initial judgment, which makes it even more critical for your company to present itself well. People are oversaturated with business messages online, on television, and via outdoor advertising all day, so you may only get one opportunity to impress. Here are five suggestions to ensure that you are showing your organization in its best light at all times:
Start with a Strong Brand
Your brand is much more than just your logo. It encompasses all elements of how a customer perceives you. This includes your visual identity, your tone of voice, and the values that underpin your business. Having a distinct and well-defined brand identity helps customers to understand who you are and what your company stands for, and to recognize your organization’s name, logo and marketing materials amongst your competitors.
If you don’t already have a clear brand identity, it is worthwhile consulting with a professional brand design agency. They can assist you in defining and articulating your brand clearly.
Ace Your Space
Where you work can often say as much about your organization as what you do there. Think of the quintessential startup in a refurbished old warehouse, with a ping-pong table, basketball hoop and a margarita machine that gets rolled out every Friday afternoon. You need to put your best foot forward and project a professional, robust image when meeting with potential clients, partners, investors or collaborators. However, for smaller ventures or those just starting out, forking out the astronomical amounts required to rent office space in prime locations can be a serious drain on scarce finances. Fortunately, plenty of budget-friendly options such as shared workspaces, hot desking, serviced and virtual offices and others exist to help you look great without the associated price tag.
Welcome Your Customers Warmly
When you speak to your customers for the first time, you want to impress them with your warmth, friendliness and helpful attitude. This makes the person answering the phone or greeting people at reception a vital member of the team. If they are frosty, dismissive or distracted by something more interesting on their phone, this could be enough to make a potential customer shop elsewhere. Conversely, if a staff member goes out of their way to be helpful, friendly and interested, then you could have a customer for life.
A Polished Front-of-House
The importance of your first encounter with a customer also extends to how straightforward your shop or office is to locate. The last thing you want is for customers to show an interest in your business and not be able to find you! Ensure that you have clear signage out the front, your windows are polished and your front-of-house is clean, uncluttered and professional.
In the quest to create a great first impression, businesses will at times create highly scripted phrases or passages of information for their team to use. While this can be a great way to ensure consistency with your brand identity and maintain a sense of professionalism, it can also come across as being quite stiff and insincere in some scenarios.
The Ritz Carlton, who are famed for their customer service, received customer feedback to this effect and moved away from scripted phrases in favor of more authentic guest service. Instead of a script, you can try customer service training, clear communication of the company ethos and setting employee KPIs to reflect the importance of treating customers impeccably.
Wow with your Website
Nowadays, the most common place to search for a business is online. In fact, a staggering 81% of people use the internet as their primary source of information about local businesses. This means that you can’t afford to make a poor first impression online. Your website should communicate your products and services clearly, be easy to navigate, and be mobile friendly. Your brand identity will drive the color scheme and language of the website, so if you completed step one then you will be halfway there!
Remember, you only get one chance to make a great first impression. Make it count for your business by following the tips outlined above.