Recently while on a visit to the UK scouting out suitable areas to move back to, I had the pleasure of being invited to a restaurant to celebrate the birthday lunch of my friend’s mum. Imagine being privy to understanding what makes ladies that lunch happy! Coincidentally on this occasion a couple of ladies at the table were not happy. In fact they were quiet unhappy and unlikely to go back to the restaurant. Why? A bad first impression and everything after that went downhill… This topic makes an excellent reminder of first impressions and what they can mean to your business if they are not happening correctly. As I am sure you know clients are spending money but they are choosing where they spend it wisely.
As a rule and according to studies people remember what they experienced on arrival and departure! If your “Meet, Greet and Leave” is excellent you will be excused the odd hiccup in the middle. That puts you in a prime position and well on the way to creating a gold star experience. Surprisingly it costs very little to create a gold star customer experience but the cost is heavy if you don’t do it! Poor first impressions will not bring customers back. So here’s a little tip to raise your awareness…
Make A Connection – All You Have To Do Is Smile!
Having been on the other side of the reception desk I know how hard it is to manage 3 things at once! With busy phones, clients, and staff all coming up to the desk, sometimes we know what is correct and what to do but forget to do it. Getting engrossed in what you are doing is easy but what does it say to the client on the other side of the desk? Unfortunately like it or not it screams ignorance! How do you feel when you feel ignored? Think about how irritated you can feel if you are standing waiting and the person in front of you doesn’t look up, acknowledge let alone smile. It is quite possible they are too engrossed, under stress or just not aware of the importance of making that connection. Even if it is the furthest thing from your intention.
So why not make it your intention to create a staff “smile policy” so that every client that comes in gets a smile (that may sound quiet simple) but in reality does that happen? A simple smile creates interaction and acknowledgement no matter what you are doing; a smile connects and interacts even without words it’s an unspoken acknowledgement which pays dividends in spades. After all the value of a client is not the one treatment they have today but the ten they come back for along the way. It is a good idea to make sure that ALL staff are aware of your “smile” policy, as you know it is not only money that can be lost it is a bad reputation and unfortunately bad news sells better than good. Also too many staff around the desk can scream intimidation and actually stop someone walking in so it is as well to ban that from your desk… Sometimes we take it for granted that staff are doing what we think they should? It is just a little reminder to check – after all raving fans become your advocates so check that it is being done.