We’ve all heard it. We may hate to admit it, but it’s true. Perception is reality. The “reality” your potential (or current) customer leaves with is their perception of your website, office, staff or service. That perception a usually a lasting one, often hard to change and can be formed in as little as 4 seconds.
4 seconds…. That’s a very small time to make a very important impression. Think about what visitors see the first 4 seconds they are on your website… What are the first four seconds of a phone call to your office like? Next time you walk into your business’ front door or reception area… walk in and pay attention while you count one – Mississippi – two – Mississippi – three — What do you see first? What are the most notable features? If you see dingy walls and stained carpet, so will your clients. That reminds me, I need to call the carpet cleaners again.
The little things do make the biggest difference! If you can’t make an objective assessment because you’ve already walked through that door every day for the past 5 years and you just don’t see it anymore, ask a few folks what they see. Conduct an informal survey. Get a friend or associate to do a sort of “surveillance” visit… to walk in and take note for you. Call your office and listen… does the call start well?
Recently, I called a relatively small organization to try to obtain information about a service they provide. What I got was a “For ‘X’ press 200, For ‘Y’ press 210, for ‘Z’ press 240…” After four options I didn’t need, I hung up. To me, this communicated “We don’t have time for you.” When I call a “mega-company” such as a utility provider or other very large firm, I expect to get the automated routine we generally dislike but have learned to tolerate. It’s important to note, what some companies are doing may not work well for you.
Sometimes the smallest genuine effort can bridge a gap and land you a customer. Today I stopped to grab lunch at a fast food restaurant. When I placed my order, I heard a young lady behind the counter say to another customer, “Thank you. We love serving you.” About 60 seconds later, they young man standing across the counter from me said, “Thank you. We love serving you.” Even though I know an corporate executive made a decision to require this action (to increase customer satisfaction and return sales), I smiled. I was pleasantly satisfied. I will likely return again soon.