Business Advice: Every Impression Matters

June 12th, 2024

With competition knocking at your door for virtually every product or service, you need to hone every advantage available to you. One of the ways you can set your business apart is to create an awesome customer experience with every interaction. This is less of an event and more a state of mind for your entire team. Here are several steps to help you get there:

  • The three outcomes. Start by understanding that every interaction with customers AND vendors has three – and only three – possible outcomes: positive, neutral, or negative. Your goal is to make every interaction, from a label on a product to speaking with someone on a call, a positive experience. Or in a worse case scenario, neutral.
  • Make a great first impression. The first impression a potential customer creates about your business can come from many different avenues. Train your customer service reps and create an approachable tone on the phone. If you choose to use social media, keep it fresh or take it down. See your lobby as others see it. All details matter.
  • Manage the outcome. The best way to do this is to eliminate the possibility of a negative outcome with your first impression. With customer interaction, this is often accomplished with active listening and a smile.

    For example, let’s say you receive a call from a customer wanting to hear about a new service. The employee that handles the service is not available and you are limited in your knowledge. The worst thing you can say is, I’m sorry, the person responsible for the service is not here at the moment. In the customer’s mind, you immediately remove the possibility of a positive outcome! Instead, engage the customer to hear about their needs, gather as much information as possible, and commit to finding the answers for them and calling them back immediately.

  • Create slingshot experiences. No matter how well you strive to offer top-notch customer service, there will always be instances that are less than favorable. Use this as an opportunity to turn a negative experience into a positive one by thrilling the disgruntled customer with your solution. Even if the solution is costly and unreasonable, that customer will tell everyone the story about how you solved their problem.
  • Use problems to make permanent improvements. Knowing your strengths can reaffirm your approach and help set customer service performance goals. On the other hand, learning about a bad experience from a customer’s perspective will give you great insight into how you can improve. Use these problems to focus your activity. Over time, the results of this continual improvement can have a tremendous impact on your business.

Creating a culture that excels at customer service is attainable if you put in the effort to know your customer’s needs and to understand that every impression matters!