When I choose to go into a business, be it a financial institution, restaurant, or store I am looking at three things. First I look at the entranceway and the floors, second I look at the people who are working there and the consumers who have chosen to do business there, and third I am looking at how people are being treated. At the end of the day, it is the consumers choice to either do business with you or not, and the impressions they get during every contact is going to have a lot to do with those choices in the future. Unfortunately many financial institutions and businesses forget that very important fact, which could leave the consumer left feeling unwelcomed and unimportant and eventually moving their business elsewhere.
So what am I looking at and why does anyone care? Next time you walk into a business make a mental note of what you are looking at. Most people look at the same things I mentioned; they just do not realize they are subconsciously filing these impressions in the back of their mind. Making an impression is about selling the total experience. For example, if I walk into a place and the entranceway is cluttered and the floors are dirty, I now subconsciously have it in my head, did I choose the right place? When I am looking at the people, I look at the patrons of the establishment and the employees. If everyone has their heads down, or looks aggravated or worse yet no one is smiling, I am really second guessing the choice I made to come in. Now for the big one, the actual contact. Was I greeted with a smile? Does the person I am speaking with want to help me or am I an inconvenience? Do they address me by my name? When I leave, am I invited back, or a nice to see you again, or is it a simple bye now?
It’s the same thing with a phone conversation. Am I greeted with a friendly voice, do they care about my needs, or are they irritated the phone rang? Face it, when you call a business, or they call you, it is obvious if the person on the other end wants to talk to you or not. When speaking with someone on the phone I expect someone who is friendly, helpful, and cares about what my needs are. Now if someone go’s above and beyond my expectations, that is an impression I will not forget.
All of the above things combined are going to determine if I am going to continue business with them. It’s about the experience. Was it bad, good, or spectacular? If it was good, they may have retained my business for a little while longer until I find someone who will give me the service I both expect and deserve. If it was bad, I am out of there, and spreading the word around about what a horrible impression that business made. If it was fantastic I am not only going to become a loyal consumer, I am going to tell my friends about how great of an experience I had. What better way to market your company then by suggestive selling from the people who already do business with you; and it didn’t cost you a thing except being aware of the impressions your employees are making to your consumers.
It’s the little things that make an impression. It does not matter if it is in person, over the phone, or an e-mail. Just remember every impression, be it the first or all the ones in the middle, has to be a great one, or your consumer might make the choice for it to be the last impression you have an opportunity to make.