First impressions happen whether you are prepared or not. We are constantly processing the things we see, hear, and feel and making judgments about how we think those things are going to impact our experiences. This is exactly what our customers are doing from the moment they begin working with us, and there are a million ways we’d like to make those impressions go well. Rather than to get overwhelmed, I’d like to suggest a few that I think will make the most significant and favorable impact on their experiences.
- Personal appearance. While much of this will be dictated by the organization’s standards, there are a few universal aspects of appearance to adhere to. Cleanliness, tidiness, and fit are important whether you are wearing jeans and a t-shirt or whether you’re wearing a suit. Wrinkled clothing, forgetting a belt, dingy shoes, pants that should be hemmed to the correct length, etc. are little things that will chip away at your image and erode your customers’ confidence. Also, individualism is a fantastic characteristic – but at work, it has to come secondary to customer expectations. Curb the enthusiasm for self-expression because it’s not about you, it’s about the customer and their desire to return.
- Office cleanliness. Not just vacuuming and dusting; I’m talking details again. Wiping fingerprints off of glass an door handles, polishing shiny details, etc. We lack the fresh perspective of our customers because we are used to how things look – make sure you are cognizant of what the customer sees; including behind the scenes if they were to use your restroom which must be stocked and cleaned regularly. In the cleanliness family is lack of clutter – no sticky notes, no knickknacks, and keep the notices and posted rules to a minimum.
- Vehicles. Whether your organization has company vehicles or whether your employees are using their personal vehicles for work – consider the image presented. It’s always important to drive courteously, but maybe never so much as when there is a company logo involved! Cars must be well maintained, clean, and free from bumper stickers. Bumper stickers lack professionalism, and alienate people – especially the political and religious ones – so steer clear of controversy!
These are 3 manageable ideas that will make a lasting impression on your customers whether you mindful of them or not. So take the preventative route and make sure they are impressions you can be proud of!