01 Oct How Do Customers Perceive Your Business?
You’ve heard it before. Perception is everything. Especially when it comes to differentiating your business in any highly competitive field. What customer wouldn’t want to seek services from a business that is perceived to be the best in their city, state…or even in the country?
Being perceived as “the best” is critical to the success of any business. And while, of course, the real key to a successful business is the skill of its owner and people who work for you, there are a number of steps that you can take to show both current, and prospective, clients that your company is the one that truly goes above and beyond the norm.
First impressions matter. A client will start sizing up your company the minute the phone rings. and someone answers it (by the third ring at the very most). The pleasant, relaxed voice on the other end of the phone welcoming the caller sets the tone for the initial impression. Callers hear “Please hold” too often, and are not likely to call back again. Make sure you are adequately staffed and prepared for the amount of daily calls you receive, because having people wait while your employees take another coffee break is simply not acceptable. Want to take your customer service to the next level? Invite friends to call your business and report their honest first impressions back to you. What happens when they are put on hold? Do they listen to hard rock? Check out www.waterworx.com to record information about your business for them to listen to while they wait. It’s a win-win for you and the client.
Next, drive up to your office, and take an honest inventory. Is the signage visible and pleasing to the eye? Walk up to the door, and ask yourself the same question. When you walk in, try to pinpoint your first thoughts about how a visitor would perceive the office. Does anyone look up from the front desk with a smile and a warm greeting? Would a potential business client see this space as welcoming and professional, or would the coffee-stained carpet and cluttered front desk scare them away? This article from Business Insider says that you only have seven seconds to make a good impression on someone. Don’t let a sloppy office be the thing that turns someone away before they even meet you.
Imagine this scenario: you walk into your office and there is beautiful music playing. The air is clean and fresh, and you notice fresh flowers on the counter. A woman looks up from the front desk, smiles at you and says “Hello (your name), it’s great to see you this morning.” Wow, you think, how did she know who I am? It’s amazing what a quick look in the appointment book can do to make clients feel welcome. You find a seat, it’s a comfortable one (not that you are going to be waiting long), and then, for the ultimate in great first impressions, the receptionist asks if you want something to drink. Oh my, you think, what is this? A spa? A restaurant? You decline and she points to the assortment of current great magazines. Within a minute or two, the person you are scheduled to meet with comes into the reception area to personally greet you and walk you back to his or her office. You stand, follow him/her to the office, and receive warm greetings and smiles from other office workers as you pass through the common areas. You instantly feel welcome and at ease. Most importantly, you feel ready to do business with the people in this company that are not only incredibly professional, but who have gone out of their way to make you feel at home.
If your business exists mostly online, Forbes Magazine says that presenting am updated website is just as important as creating a welcoming workspace. Take their advice and include catchy taglines, emotional photos, and an intuitive layout to keep the user scrolling. The more links they click on, the more interested they’ll become in working with you.
The right look, the right tone you set for visitors, and the right words spoken with warmth and professionalism by your entire staff all contribute to the perception that your business is one that stands apart from others in your industry. This outstanding perception will do more than just help grow your business. It will help you ensure working relationships that last a lifetime.