Whether it’s in a hotel or in a coffee shop or a bank branch, first impressions mean a lot. First impressions mean “this is who we are” and “this is what you should expect.” First impressions mean “this is our definition of excellence” and “this is how much we care about you.”
An office leasing firm had a receptionist in the lobby whose title was “Director of First Impressions.” This was the company’s way of saying to the customer “this is what you should expect,” but it was also the organization’s way of setting an expectation of the receptionist of what should be her behaviors. It was a way of saying “YOU are the first impression that customers have of our company.”
Wow! Talk about a big responsibility! That employee wasn’t directing others to make a first impression. She WAS the first impression. And the first impression was of someone who greeted you immediately, who smiled, who quickly addressed your need, who adeptly managed callers, walk-ins, and customers alike. She kept communication going with people who waited, and she kept the flow of people and work going.
Therefore, the people who interacted with her had an impression about the company that it was focused on the customer, engaged, cared about meeting the customer’s need, generally happy, responsive, and organized.
So where do your customers get their first impressions?
Are you making positive impressions in the minds of customers? Are you setting high expectations of employees?
Create your customers’ expectations and set your expectations of employees by defining what a fantastic first impression looks like.