You Only Have 7 Seconds11/30/15
Seven seconds — that’s all the time you have to make a positive, lasting impression on any new customer. The interactions with your employees and observations about your business that take place during this short window are critical to the customer experience. Do you know what it takes to make a great first impression and make your customers feel like stars?
Take Pride in Your Appearance
When it comes to making a positive first impression, appearance certainly matters. There are two elements to consider: the appearance of your business and that of your employees.
Regarding your business, customers start to form an impression before they even walk through the doors. The customer experience starts out in the parking lot when customers first see your building and your signage. Your business’s curb appeal can make or break a good first impression, so make sure:
- The parking lot and surroundings are clean, all trash is picked up and neatly contained
- The landscaping is trimmed and tidy
- All lights in the parking lot and on the exterior of the building, including lighting, are working properly
Inside your business, one room can indicate to customers the cleanliness of the entire place: the bathroom. If your bathroom is dirty, why wouldn’t the rest of the place be? This line of thought is especially true in restaurants — if the bathroom is dirty, restaurant patrons can easily assume the kitchen is, too.
The appearance of your employees will reflect positively or negatively on your business. To make a great first impression on customers, employees need to dress the part. Their attire and grooming should be appropriate for your business; employees should look neat, not like they just rolled out of bed.
Welcome Customers to Your Business
If you want your business to make a great first impression, roll out the red carpet. Make sure all customers are greeted promptly, with energy and excitement. By doing so, your employees show they care. A strong greeting has three key elements:
- Say “hello”
- Give a smile
- Make eye contact
The same goes for phone calls. Always have an employee available to answer the phone right away, and do so with a positive tone.
Anticipate Customer Needs
To really wow a customer, anticipate their needs and take care of them before the customer ever asks. This will help make the customer experience seamless and avoid confusion with can cloud the customer’s opinion of their interactions with your company.
- Identify commonly asked questions and make sure every employee knows the answers
- Provide customers with directions and information when they enter your business—don’t wait for them to ask
- If customers seem confused, take extra time to answer their questions
- Explain any sales or specials thoroughly, so customers know exactly what to expect
Take a hard look at your business — in that first seven seconds, what are you doing right? What needs improvement?