Have you ever walked into a restaurant, looked around, and immediately thought “There’s no way I’m eating here”? They lost your business because they didn’t make a good first impression. Maybe it was the décor, or nobody greeted you when you walked in, or there was that weird smell, but you knew right away. A potential customer will decide within 11 seconds of walking into your business whether or not they like you. Those 11 seconds are critical – you only get 1 chance at a first impression, which will greatly influence whether or not they do business with you. No one wants to lose out on sales, so here are 4 crucial ways to help your business make a great first impression with customers.
1 – Optimize your website and train your employees to answer the phone
Often the first point of contact that customers will have with your business will be on the web or over the phone. Make sure their experience is a good one that leaves them with positive feelings about your business. An out-of-date website or a confusing phone system will discourage customers from visiting you in the first place.
Is your website…
- Easy to use?
When a customer calls in…
- Is there a live person answering the phone? Are they knowledgeable and friendly?
- How long do they have to wait on hold?
- Do they have to navigate a phone tree?
A customer’s experience online or over the phone will often decide if they visit you or one of your competitors. Consider writing a script for your employees who answer the phone, and make sure your business’s information (like address and phone number) is up to date and consistent everywhere a customer can find it online.
2 – Make sure your lobby is clean and well-lit
Your entryway should tell a customer everything they need to know about your business. The lobby is the “point of no return” for a customer. They’ve made a decision to seek out your business and, at the very least, committed to getting more information about you. Your lobby should reward them for that decision and commitment, giving your customers no reason to second guess themselves. That means your lobby should be orderly, welcoming, and above all, clean.
Orderly – Does your customer know where/how to get help? Having a receptionist to guide potential customers is key (see #3)
Welcoming – Does your lobby put people at ease? The décor, the lighting, the building materials all play a part in helping customers feel relaxed. Did you know that watching fish swim around in aquariums helps reduce heart rate and blood pressure? It’s true!
Clean – Are your floors, upholstery, walls, etc. free of dirt and stains? Nothing says “I don’t care about my business and, by extension, the problems of my customers” quite like stained carpet and dirty upholstery. It’s important to have a professional maintenance plan not only to impress customers, but to protect your investment – and your bottom line.
3 – Have a good receptionist
“You only get one chance to make a good first impression, and yours may be in the hands of the receptionist”
A knowledgeable, friendly receptionist will go a long way towards making a good first impression with customers. As the first employee a customer sees, they are essentially the “face” of your business; it’s important they represent you in a positive, confidence-building way.
Your receptionist/greeter/face-to-face marketing liaison (whatever you want to call them) should also know the ins and outs of your business. When a customer has a question or an issue, they will feel much more confident about your business if the first person they bring their problem to knows what to do to help.
4 – Have marketing info readily available
If a customer has decided to walk into your business to get information, have that information – and more – available to them! Be ready to make the most of every opportunity. Give them reasons to choose your company, or highlight additional products/services you offer, or why they should add on to their current service. This can be done through printed pieces, handouts, displays, or even your expertly-trained receptionist/greeter/F2F Mkg Liaison. Not only is this preparation professional, it helps maximize each customer who walks through your door. Fortune favors the prepared!
So there are the 4 crucial ways to make a good first impression with customers. Are there any other ways to impress your customers and build confidence with potential clients? Of course! Take a look at your business through the eyes of your customer and try to put yourself in their shoes. Look for ways to improve their experience and leave them feeling at ease, confident, and overall positive about you. After all, in the words of one of our favorite authors:
“A good first impression can work wonders”
From two-room offices to 20,000-seat stadiums, Modernistic has been helping Michigan businesses make a great first impression with customers for over 44 years. Click here to see how we can help your business look its absolute best.