Tuesday, 1 June 2010

First Impressions are Lasting Impressions

I was invited to a meeting once and when I got there on time, the person who had called the meeting was not there. Twenty minutes later, she sauntered in with an apology and a sandwich, which she had already started eating, wrapped in foil. She sat down and continued eating her sandwich, in the foil, and with crumbs attached to her face. This was my first impression of this woman. It was not a very good one. Sadly for her, it is the one thing that sticks out in my mind when I think of her.

This morning, I went down to the ground floor and there was our VP, Customer Service at the door greeting customers, along with a couple of his team. As a customer, this would have been a great first impression - prompt 8am start with a senior executive member at the door meeting and greeting.

While it is indeed cliche, you really do only have one opportunity to make a first impression. There is generally no rewind button and what you give is what stays etched in the mind of the person or persons you interact with. First impressions are the last thing anyone forgets. And be it via your frontline staff, your telemarketing team, your website or your sales pitch - your first step is the one which will determine how successful you will be. First impressions are motivated by our need to influence others, have them act in a certain way and the ultimate onjective is to gain a reward of some kind. And first impressions usually are centred around really small things like a prompt response to a complaint, or the usability of a website. This morning I tried finding info on flights and the first website did not really inspire me to make a purchasing decision right then and there. However, the second site, which was clean and easy to navigate, and which also was complemented by a Twitter customer care channel grabbed my interest and more importantly pushed me closer to making a purchasing decision. All the scrolling ads, pop up windows and flash in the world on the other site did not resonate with me as a consumer, who wanted to be in and out of there without the hassle. And hassle it was.

So it is important to take the time to make that first impression count. Think about not only your presentation and how it can build your brand, but also how your presentation relates to your customer. Think of the criteria with which that person will judge your brand based on the first impression you create.
  • Do they trust the brand?
  • Does the brand inspire confidence?
  • Is it a professional image?
  • Is it a company that cares about people - both its customers and its staff?
  • Is the brand understood and well represented by all staff, across all levels?
And the list is endless. But these are just a few questions one can ask when evaluating how you present yourself and your brand to your audience, because first impressions last!


Post a Comment

Thanks for your comments and questions!

Twitter Delicious Facebook Digg Stumbleupon Favorites More