The Importance of a First Impression in Business

You never get a chance to make another first impression in any walk of life. For those within business the first impression is one that could stick for life, meaning you either attract a potential new customer to buy into your brand, or you lose them and potentially others they may have referred you to. Mystery shopping is a great process to get to the heart of the matter in terms of customer satisfaction levels for a business, and key service measurement is often the first port of call because it is the first part of a customer’s journey. If you can quickly decipher how a customer feels at the beginning of a process it will help you to figure out how they are likely to feel at other stages of the journey.

The Importance of Good Customer Acknowledgement Levels – Within every business there will be different protocols for how you interact with potential customers when they walk through the door. In some industries it’s important for you to acknowledge the person immediately, to let them know you are there to help if required. Within hospitality you are likely to greet the patrons straight away and seat them comfortable within a short space of time. In other retail environments the best approach is to stand back and allow the customers to browse. Whichever industry you are in analyse your competitors and the approaches you have already taken and work out the best approach for you. Once this is in place you can begin to work on a programme of training that provides all of your staff members with the foundation to make a good first impression, every time. It is about managing the customer and making the right approach at the right time.

Analyse Service Standards – Whatever you decide is the standard within your company in terms of the first action towards a customer, stick to it and ensure it is measurable. This can be achieved through spot checks and mystery shopping, or customer surveys. Being able to analyse how your staff are conducting themselves, and how your customers are reacting to your current approach is a great way to tweak and improve over time. Acknowledgement of a customer isn’t just about saying hello, it is also about being there as a sounding board, to offer specific advice and guidance if required and just being ready to perform in the way that each particular customer needs you to. Sales and business staff have to be malleable.

Even in situations where customers use self-service or online ordering you can measure the level of acknowledgment, just at a different stage of the customer journey. So for instance, how does the interaction process help a customer at the checkout stage in-store, or does the customer service phone line offer everything it needs to for querying customers.

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