When it comes to buying goods and services we all understand that people shop around. Typically, when people buy a service they will look at three companies, they will make contact, form an impression and then they will make a decision. At the shopping around stage people are very sensitive and will pick up on the tiniest details. There are probably a number of avenues for approaching your business which could range from live chat to emails, direct messages from social media and phone calls, and each one needs careful consideration.
With regard to phone calls, these are the things that really matter – the way you answer the call, any background noise or distractions, your musical hold, whether there is someone there you can talk to, how you follow up, all simple little steps that matter more than you could possibly imagine. If the competition do all of these things better than you, the chances are that they will get the business.
You might have a fabulous website, great social media, interesting blogs, you may go to networking meetings, exhibitions and do everything that you can to attract quality enquiries. However all the bright lights and bells and whistles count for nothing if you don’t deliver on that all important first impression.
First impressions are something that businesses need to take seriously. The first impression is a make or break situation. If you think of first impressions as the first step in your client’s journey you will start to think about things differently.
The companies that are forensic about this are the companies that win business. So how good is your first impression? There’s only one way to find out and that’s to test it.
If you’re serious about this and you want to test your first impressions write down all the ways in which people can approach your business. Then you need to work out how you’re going to test each one and how you’re going to rate each stage.
During the first impression stage, people are more likely to base their decision on a ‘feel good’ factor, ie how much they like you and your style. These things are difficult to quantify but you can take a scientific approach to achieve a ‘feel good’ outcome.
Take each type of approach to your business, eg live chat, direct message, phone calls etc and apply measurements. In the case of phone calls you really want to be looking at the following:
- the number of rings before the call is answered (3 rings is widely acceptable)
- how well the call was answered (did they say their name, your company name and an agreed greeting?)
- was the person able to help? (did they ask questions, transfer the call etc)
- was there someone who knew all the answers and took responsibility?
- how good was the follow up in terms of speed and accuracy?
Think about your own measurements for managing first impressions across all channels. Put the processes in place and then move into test phase. These simple little steps will help you to step into the shoes of people contacting your business for the first time. There are never any second chances to make a first impression.