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6 Customer First Impressions

6 Customer First Impressions

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Published by: Shibly on Jan 11, 2012
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6 Customer First Impressions
 by Kathy on June 1, 2010It¶s amazing how some organizations are good with first impressions and others are not. By firstimpressions I mean the first point of contact a customer has with an organization.The reality is that customers have choices and organizations that ³get it´ pay attention to thedetails that matter to customers. Every organization is different as far as their first impressionmoment, but all organizations have that first opportunity to make their customer feel like theyhave come to the right place and will get their needs met.
First Impression Opportunities1. Website
Most successful organizations have a well thought out and designed website. Today¶s customersuse the internet to find out information about an organization. What products and services theyhave to offer, hours of operation, locations, customer testimonies, service guarantees and to get ageneral feel for the business. It is critical to take a good look at your website and try to wear acustomer¶s hat when doing so. Things to think about:
y
 
Is the look of the website current or outdated?
y
 
Is the content accurate, clear and error proof?
y
 
H
ow easy is it to find the needed information? The last thing you want to do is frustrate acustomer by making it difficult to navigate the site.
y
 
A
re there pictures or video that tell a story?
2
. Telephone
F
or some organizations, a customer calling in to ask questions or make an appointment may bethe first point of contact. Things to think about:
y
 
H
ow is the phone answered?
y
 
D
oes a ³live´ person answer the phone?
 
y
 
What are the wait and hold times?
y
 
What does the hold background music/information sound like?
y
 
Is the person answering the phone friendly, knowledgeable and able to answer questions?
y
 
H
ow many times does a customer need to be transferred before getting information or aquestion answered?
y
 
H
ow quickly are calls returned?
3
. Business Lobby
When someone comes to your business, some first impressions may be the cleanliness of the parking lot, entryway and lobby. Things to think about:
y
 
Is the parking lot free from debris or blowing trash?
y
 
Is the entryway free from debris or blown leaves, etc?
y
 
Is the glass on the doors and windows clean?
y
 
What does the building smell like? I personally have sensitivity to smell and I makeimpressions based on smells, either good or bad.
y
 
What does the furniture and carpet look like in the waiting room? Is it clean and fresh or stained and worn?
y
 
Is the public restroom clean and fully stocked?
4
. Receptionist
The receptionist is often the first representation of a business.
H
ow well they are trained or untrained tells a lot about a business. Things to think about:
y
 
Is the receptionist friendly?
y
 
A
re they knowledgeable about the organization?
A
good receptionist knows everythingabout an organization from how the business started to where the business is going.
y
 
C
an the receptionist answer questions?
y
 
Is the receptionist equipped to do service recovery if a customer is not happy?
y
 
D
oes the receptionist do ³personal´ things while on duty, for example do they eat at their desk, read or polish their nails? These may seem minor but send a message andimpression of how professional the organization is.
5
. Business Culture
When someone visits your business, are the workers happy and helpful? If employees are notengaging they can leave a negative impression on customers.
y
 
D
o employees vent or voice frustrations in front of customers?
y
 
D
o they ignore customers thinking that it is ³not their job´ or do they stop what they aredoing to help the customer?
6. Marketing Materials
 
I know marketing materials can be expensive but they really do tell a lot about an organization.These materials should always be professionally done. They should represent the organization by having clean, error free information that is clear and informative. The goal would be for thesematerials to answer the questions that someone might have. When creating marketing materials,think about answering questions that relate to who, what, where, when and how.
Positive attitude in Customer Service
y
 
S
elect a customer-focused attitude.
Realize that a positive attitude is a matter of choice.We decide the positive aspects of any situation and choose our reaction.
F
ocus on thecustomer¶s needs and wants, not their angry tone.
y
 
S
trive for constant improvement.
 
A
lways strive to improve your attitude. Whennegative thoughts arise, ask why. If it is appropriate, resolve the issue immediately rather than burying the ill feelings. Replace the negative thoughts with positive ones. Whenever a negative thought arises, always acknowledge it and refocus on the positive.
y
 
A
void gossip.
Gossip usually carries a negative connotation. People choose to spreadrum ors because it makes them look good, feel better or casts an unfavorable light on theindividual. It may make the gossiper feel better, but can also do irreparable damage.Refuse to spread or listen to gossip. You will avoid negative thoughts and messages.
y
 
S
et an example and walk your talk.
When we focus on being a positive provider of service, responsive to the customer regardless of their attitude, we present a positiveimage for others to see and emulate. The impression we present of our business isfavorable and memorable. People want to be around positive individuals and are morewilling to follow the example you will set.
y
 
Be accountable
. When a problem arises, resolve it.
A
void placing blame on another department or employee for a mistake. When you blame someone else for the problem infront of a customer, it only generates more ill feelings toward you and your organization.The key is the customer wants the issue resolved, so be accountable for your organizationand provide alternatives in order to fix the situation.
y
 
Listen to your inner voice.
If you find your self-talk is negative, resolve the situation.
C
reate and adopt a positive view of the world. That includes thinking positively aboutyourself, your work and your abilities. If you need to, post inspirational and positivethoughts in easy to see places. This will help you refocus when thoughts do go astray.
y
 
A
void complacency.
Recognize areas you need to improve. Establish personal and professional goals and objectives for improvement. Tackle the most difficult areas first.Look for the positive during your personal growth and change processes. Maintain a high personal standards and anticipate that you will achieve your goals.
y
 
Listen to your speech
.
H
ear what you say to others. Listen to your tone of voice.Mentally observe your body language.
A
re your statements upbeat and positive, or negative and condescending? Is your message delivered with enthusiasm and a smile or laced with anger and frustration? People will mirror your message and your bodylanguage. If your speech is positive you can expect a favorable response.

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