This morning I found myself cleaning up the house in readiness for my cleaner who starts this afternoon. Am I crazy?! Crazy maybe but not unique. I tweeted the absurdness of my actions this morning and the replies confirmed that I am not alone.
So why was I cleaning up the house in preparation for the lady who I am going to pay to do that for me?
Because first impressions count. It will be the first time that the cleaner visits my house and whilst she is here to clean it for me I don’t want her to think that I’m a slovenly person. I’m employing her because my business takes up a lot of my time now. Not because I can’t be bothered to do it myself.
I guess at the end of the day it matters not what she thinks of the level of cleanliness of my house. She will do her job, I will pay her and we will both be happy but this leads me to think about the importance of first impressions in a marketing context.
How often do you stand back and consider what first impressions you give to your potential clients? Whether the initial interaction is over the phone, across the Internet or in-person, that first impression can set the tone for the entire customer experience. Your potential clients will instantly create a view in their mind of what experience they are likely to encounter if they buy from you and potentially make a decision based in that one encounter.
The other day I passed a van owned by a local domestic cleaning company (sorry back on the cleaning subject again) parked outside a house on a residential street. The van, sign written to advertise the name of the company, looked like it hadn’t been cleaned in weeks. What kind of first impression did that leave me with? Rightly or wrongly, my impression was of a cleaning company that has low standards of cleanliness and is probably going to do a poor job.
Sometimes it’s just the little things that create such lasting impressions and can determine whether you gain that client or not – the way you are spoken to on the telephone, the time it takes for your call to be answered, the ease of finding the information you need on a website, the sign above your door, the appearance of the person that greets you..
These are simple things to change yet can make the world of difference so it’s important to monitor what first impressions you are creating. You can formalise the process by the involvement of mystery shopper agencies or seeking qualitative feedback from clients but most of it can be guaged by looking around you and imagining yourself in the shoes of your client. Sit in reception, what do you see? Ring in from an external line, what do you hear? Log on to your website, what do you find?
Open your eyes.
What negative or positive first impressions have you experienced from a business that have formed a strong opinion in your mind? How do you monitor first impressions? Please share them below.
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PS Should my husband get wind of my actions I will of course just tell him that I was tidying up the mess so she could get straight on with the cleaning!