Especially in this era of ever-changing and advancing technology, first impressions are still important. Repeat business cannot be generated without initially creating a personal relationship or connection. Whether it’s ecommerce where it begins with the first click, a brick and mortar store when you encounter the person who says or does not say hello, or the automated voice messaging system or tone of the agent as you wait on the phone.
I don’t understand or fathom why any business would ever have people working who don’t automatically have the capacity, personality or training to welcome the customer, give them hope that they will be doing business with a company who wants to create an exceptional experience and appreciates their patronage.
Here are some examples: What are these owners or managers thinking?
- I went into a restaurant on a very cold day, where the coat-check lady was nasty, didn’t say hello, and was obviously annoyed. Yes, the first and last person who I encountered left me with a bad taste; no pun intended
- One of the largest museums in New York City offering computer generated electronic passes, requires visitors to pick up their printed tickets at the Will-Call window. The person behind the desk was so offensive that everyone on line, including children, were stressed out just thinking about communicating with the woman who acted like she was protecting Fort Knox (not that I’m familiar that place)
- Our friends were visiting a bridal shop to find a gown for their daughter and arrived with a group of excited onlookers including the groom’s mom, the bride’s two sisters and her favorite niece. The party was greeted, if you could call it a “greeting” with “who is the bride?” Not a friendly hello and congratulations for the upcoming nuptials, which would have been appreciated.
- My wife and I went to the children’s department of a well-known and prestigious department store to purchase a gift for a new baby. After telling the sales person what we were looking for, her response was not “oh that’s so exciting or even, how nice,” but I’m busy right now, why don’t you look through the merchandise yourselves
- I met a friend at a café for breakfast at the time the shop first opened. You would think we would be greeted with, “good morning,” Instead, it was, “ we are not ready yet, just wait.” This coupled with loud music, that was probably great to get the restaurant going, but certainly not good for customers who were trying to start their day with a quiet conversation over a cup of coffee and a croissant.
Successful and profitable businesses that receive valuable and rave reviews on social media, are aware of how critical it is to always welcome customers. Whether it’s ecommerce, phone or face-to-face, the crucial initial step for any business is to ensure that the right people are hired who can make the best first impression. Generating repeat business is not difficult; it’s mostly common sense.