The first 30 seconds of any business interaction are best considered an interview. A customer will form many opinions in this initial interaction and it provided a limited window of opportunity for you. Generally most impressions are done subconsciously with a simple end result being a message from the brain of the customer saying, ‘I will come back here again’ or, ‘I will not come back here again’. Sure this process may take longer in some businesses, but you get the point.
I do a lot of mystery shopper evaluations for various companies. This is where I visit the business as a customer but my job is to evaluate how they could do things better, generally from a customer service perspective. My most common negative observation is that the business fails to impress from the start and that sets the mood for the rest of the interaction.
Make your first business impressions count. If you have a business where people come in off the street, you always need to look impressive, neat, tidy and clean. Your staff need to be well presented and the ‘welcome’ needs to be honest and sincere. If your business is one where people phone in, the call needs to be answered promptly, and the person answering the call needs to speak clearly and listen to what the caller is saying. They need to be able to answer the queries or direct the caller to someone who can help them (not just put them in a never ending cycle of ‘someone else’s problem’). If your business’ first point of contact is through a brochure in the mail it needs to get the reader’s attention quickly and answer the right questions. If the reader has to try and figure out what it is all about, it will end up in the too hard basket or the bin.
Remember first impressions set the mood for all future interactions and dealings. Make your first 30 seconds as good as they can be and your business will be well and truly on the way to achieving winning status.