As long as I can remember, I was always taught how first impressions were extremely important. It’s true in life – and it’s true in business. In fact, if you are a CEO, president or business owner, first impressions of your company are extremely important!
Once someone gets an impression of you or your company, it’s very difficult to change that impression. Even though most CEOs, presidents and business owners are aware of the concept, many haven’t fully or effectively enough applied it to their business.
Is that happening at your business?
From your customer’s perspective every employee provides a lasting impression of your business. Ultimately, it’s how the customer judges your company, its products or services.
Do customers want to do business with you?
Do you provide excellent service?
Do you offer great products?
Are you a reliable company?
Although most companies work at making a favorable impression there’s one area often neglected: How the telephone is answered.
Calling many businesses throughout the country, I am actually shocked at how unprofessional people answer the telephone. Do a test at your company. Call into your business at different times of the day during the next week or month and see if the people answering the telephone are giving your customers the impression they are someone your company wants to do business with.
Are employees pleasant, yet professional, on the phone?
Do employees have a business-like, confident-sounding voice?
Do employees make the caller feel like they are important and that the call is appreciated?
Do employees know how to take a message?
If placed on hold, what type of music or informational message does the customer listen to or is it just dead silence?
How long do customers generally remain on hold?
If voice messages are necessary is the response time prompt?
If you have an automated voice system at your company the concept of first impressions is just as critical as with a live voice, and perhaps even more so simply because it is automated.
Does the automated voice sound “real” or robotic?
Is it easy to navigate through the system or can customers and other business associates easily get lost in the system due to having to listen to too many extension numbers, instructions or options that are too general?
Can customers quickly reach the appropriate person they need to speak with?
A bank with a national presence that I do business with recently changed their phone system. Every time I call into the bank’s phone system I now have to repeatedly yell into the phone to activate the prompts. The previous phone system was actually much better than the “new and improved” phone system as it was simple, easy to use and it didn’t require raising your voice to complete a transaction.
To the customer calling into your company the voice heard on the other end of the telephone is the business. Make sure that voice is an extension of your own voice as well as the mission and the values of the company – as though you were talking to each and every person directly when they call into the business.
PS: If you use a mobile phone for business, much of what is discussed in this article applies. It’s still all about that important first business impression when the phone is answered – no matter where you are.
To your success!
Ready to improve and grow your business? Talk with Howard! – 888-738-1855 – Howard Lewinter guides – focuses – advises CEOs, presidents and business owners to MORE success – MORE profit – less stress.