For many, the importance of first impressions goes without saying.
We all know, from our own experience, how quickly we can make a judgment call.
The same goes for your customers.
“From the moment you engage a customer, your behaviour, attitude and personal presentation will influence your customer’s decision to buy.”Biz QLD
To stay ahead of the competition, you need to ensure you impart the best possible first impression, on every single occasion.
Making The Right First Impression
Whilst there is a singular school of thought surrounding the importance of first impressions; the consensus on how to make them is incredibly fractured.
“It only takes seven seconds for you to make a first impression”.Harvard FOC
Despite this, a running theme is to ensure the customer feels valued. They must be respected as an individual rather than as a number or a route to hitting your KPIs.
In this light, many organisations take their inspiration from world renowned writer, Dale Carnegie, when it comes to nailing the all important first impression.
He maintained six key principles. They are:
Become Genuinely Interested.
Authenticity goes a long way and enthusiasm is infectious. Both go a long way toward securing a positive first impression.
People buy from people. And being human, is the best way to appear relatable.
For those conducting first impressions remotely, you can still “smile”; you simply achieve the sensation through tonality, presentation and accessibility.
A Person’s Name Is To Them The Sweetest & Most Important Sound.
Personalise. Make sure the customer knows you are there for them and them alone; they matter as an individual.
People don’t like being sold to, buy they love to buy. Let them guide the interaction and tell you exactly how you can help.
Talk To Their Interests.
Most customers don’t care about your business specifically, they care about how you can help them get what they want.
Make Them Feel Important.
Your customers matter to you; without them you couldn’t hope to succeed. Make sure they feel as important to you as you believe them to be.
Why Process Matters
Even if we put our own spin on things, the vast majority will agree with the themes of Carnegie’s work.
But what has process got to do with the importance of first impressions?
Surely if we stick to Carnegie’s principles every customer will be shouting from the rooftops about how amazing their experience was?
Maybe so; but sticking to task is precisely the crux of the issue.
Without a defined process, how can you know your team ARE in fact creating a first impression environment that matches your desires and expectations?
Modern consumers behave differently to those Carnegie studied. This makes the importance of first impressions more significant than ever before.
“Anywhere up to 70% of the buying journey is completed before a prospective customer engages with a business.”Pardot
If an educated buyer arrives at your door and the experience you provide puts them off, they’ll simply go to the competitor they researched to be the next best option.
When organisations are viewed as vendors rather than experts, you need to make every interaction count.
And few are more important than the first.
How Process Defines First Impressions
First impressions are created by your employees and by extension, your workflows.
Whether that first customer interaction is digital, face to face, or a hybrid of the two. It makes no difference.
You wouldn’t want a prospect to experience a dramatically varying level of service depending on who, where or how they interact with you!
Likewise, instead of being made up from several, isolated interactions; your customer experience should feel like a single, flowing entity.
This can be achieved by implementing, and adhering to, your best practice process.
“Companies shouldn’t delay investing in dedicated software systems that can streamline and automate customer facing processes, reduce errors and eliminate inconsistencies.“CRAIG BOROWSKI
Aligning each and every employee on what good looks like, and defining the process of achieving it, is the only way to guarantee you make the right first impression.
Developing consistency within your best practice guidelines means that before long, your bespoke best practice quickly becomes second nature to your team.
Increased transparency across the organisation ensures communications are never missed and having everyone on the same hymn sheet means fewer gaps are left as accountability increases.
Rather than stumbling at the first hurdle, process ensures your teams adopt a winning formula for each new opportunity.
Ready to explore how Anthill can help your team recognise the importance of first impressions? Schedule a demo today.
Intrigued to learn more? Check out our Insights Hub to keep your business at the cutting edge.
November 16th, 2021-