In business, brand image and first impressions matter. Unless you have a monopoly on a product or service, you can’t expect customers to patronize your business if they are not impressed by what they see and experience when they encounter you for the first time.
How can businesses make a good first impression without breaking the bank? Here are three examples.
Practice Common Courtesy
In our efforts to become efficient and deliver products and services as quickly as possible, many businesses lose sight of adding a personal and human touch on their operations. Automatic sliding doors instead of guards greet most customers; and when they walk up to the counter, they’re expected to place their orders through touch screen kiosks. Non-contact measures are useful now that we are experiencing a pandemic, but a personal touch can still go a long way to making a positive first impression.
These are the common courtesies that many businesses now overlook, but are still necessary for nurturing customer-business relationships:
- Greeting and smiling at customers when they walk in your store.
- Giving customers space to browse products or choose dishes from a menu.
- Approaching customers when they look like they need help or when they ask for it.
- Avoid making a sales pitch before customers can even speak.
These simple pointers can make customers feel comfortable and at ease in your establishment, whether you’re selling consumer goods or offering a service. When you create a positive atmosphere, customers become more responsive to your marketing message.
Think about the first time you applied for a job or talked to a potential investor. Didn’t you appear at the meeting wearing your best business-casual clothes, looking fresh and ready to answer their questions? It pays to apply the same enthusiasm when meeting your customers: you’re hoping to earn their business, after all.
How a business presents itself influences a customer’s opinion of the brand, its products, services, and even customer service. When servers look and behave like professionals, customers feel more at ease and confident about trusting the business. Here are a few simple ways to do this:
- Provide your staff with uniforms. It doesn’t have to be fancy. Personalized workwear like collared shirts bearing the business’s logo in front will do. It can elevate your business’s image and make your workers look more professional than if they were only wearing ordinary, mismatched t-shirts.
- Encourage your employees to make themselves presentable when facing customers, both in appearance and demeanor.
- Your employees’ speech and behavior should also reflect your business image.
Improve Your Customer Service
Customers can forgive an establishment for looking drab or not being at the best location if it can make up for these shortcomings with stellar customer service. Some even settle for the second or third best products if what they get in return is a quick turnaround, timely customer service calls, and quality products and services.
Customers look at these three important factors when evaluating customer service quality:
- Responsiveness – Do you reply to messages on social media and emails or return phone calls?
- Problem-solving ability – How well are you able to solve customers’ issues with your products or services?
- Speed of delivery – How fast can you send or complete the solutions you promised?
First impressions are often the most memorable. If it’s not a good one, a customer has no reason to return to your store or establishment. Use the examples above to create a positive first impression and improve your business’s overall image.