Knowing what kind of first impression you, or your staff, are giving your customer is KEY when setting the stage for a great experience with your business.

One of THE most important parts of the Customer Experience happens when a customer enters your place of business and finds themselves face to face with you or an employee.

First impressions set the stage

First impressions set the tone and mood.

In a hot second so much is communicated to your customer

Is your customer getting the vibe of irritation? Joy? Indifference? Excitement?

In order to set up your customer (and your staff) for a profitable, pleasant, and purposeful interaction, there are specific items that need to be trained and practiced.

Costs of First Impressions

Giving a good first impression can increase sales, garner a wonderful review, and positively change the mood and trajectory of a customer’s day.

60% of consumers talk about a brand they’re loyal to with their family and friends.

Yopto.com

Giving a bad first impression frustrates coworkers; it makes their job harder because they are now in the hole that was dug. They’ve got to work to turn the experience around for the customer. Giving a bad first impression sure fire way to receive a horrible review on social media, for everyone to see.

News of bad customer service reaches more than twice as many ears as praise for a good service experience.

Help Scout

What can you do to help train people and how to give a good first impression? How can you make sure you and staff are consistently delivering a great first impression?

Understanding Purpose

Consistently giving a good first impression requires an understanding by staff that their purpose is not just being a warm body so you can work on other things. Staff need to know the incredible power they have to help your business grow.

When staff knows and understands their potential impact on the bottom line, they start to see themselves as not just a warm body but as an important contributor. When you give them the tools and goals to help them succeed, you’ll see more engaged and happy employees!

Training

Consistently giving a good first impression requires training.

You’ve got to train people these days how to interact with others. It’s unfortunate but true. Too many people have their face in their phones and have forgotten how to interact with one another.

People are stressed out because of Covid, jobs, the economy, politics, and even from wearing a mask. Giving your staff tools and training to help make these customers have a positive experience will not only grow your business but will also create happy and engaged employees.

Training a great first impression begins with training The Big Three:

  • Eye Contact

  • Smile

  • Greeting

The Big Three are simple but they are far from easy.

“YES PLEASE!
An eBook training guide!”

First Impressions Matter

3 Practices That Make Your
Customers Stoked
to Return

Eye Contact and First Impressions

Is there anything worse than bringing a purchase up to the counter only to see the crown of a head? This communicates that whatever that person is doing, reading, or writing is FAR more important than the person standing right in front of them. It’s the ultimate rudeness.

Even if I’m engrossed in a task or on the phone, I can take a split second to look up at a person and lock eyes. Eye contact is the first step in setting the stage for a great customer interaction.

7 Practices that Deliver Great Customer Experiences

Smile and First Impressions

Yes, people can tell that you’re smiling under that mask. They can tell when you’re smiling on the phone. This is old research, not new information.

Research shows that smiling has mood enhancing effects, even when you’re faking it. While I don’t advocate faking a smile, I do realize that sometimes that’s all that a person can muster. It’s a start! I’ll take it.

Eye contact that is not followed by a smile can be dangerous. Remember being a kid and your parent stopped you in your tracks with just “a look”? That “look” spoke to you loud and clear! Think of your customers as little kids – just in big bodies.

Take a moment to take a selfie. Take one without a smile.

Would you feel welcomed by you?

 Now take a selfie with a smile.

Now would you feel welcomed by you?

Greeting and First Impressions

A greeting is where we really put the pedal to the metal. 

When your staff has a greeting to say to your customers, it gives both parties purpose and direction.

Samantha Irwin

A greeting sets the stage for staff to serve your customer instead of letting them wander about the store.

A greeting is the start of creating connection and a relational transaction (as opposed to a cold, robotic transaction).

A greeting is the beginning of a conversation.

When a conversation happens, magic happens in your business!

The fruits of conversation are:

  • Customer loyalty
  • Customer feels valued
  • Customer feels served well
  • Employee begins to know customers
  • Employee knows customer likes, dislikes, needs, and wants
  • Employees can direct customers to items they may be unaware of that your business has for them

There are so many more fruits of conversation!

Sum Up

And to think, this all begins by creating a great first impression; it begins by training The Big Three.

So, what are you waiting for? Dive-in to ‘up your business game’ and make GREAT first impressions – every time!

Samantha works with business owners helping to ‘tame the overwhelm’, assisting with customer acquisition & retention, employee training & retention, and honing your Customer Experience so it kicks butt.

She conducts workshops and training in hospitality, Customer Experience, and creating a culture in the workplace that inspires and motivates employees and customers.

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