Maximise your Customer Service Approach with a great first impressions
Why first impressions are so important
I’m going to take you straight to the point on this blog which is your bottom line.
If you want your business model to be successful you have to develop great communication and customer service management skills.
What if right now I could give you the strategy to creating the ability to deliver just that – great customer service, would you read on? Sure you would because you want your business model to be successful, accessible and dynamic however there’s a process that happens before your visitor or customer even begins to engage with your service, there’s a vital part that you must fulfil before they even start inviting you into their psychology of building a rapport and giving you the chance to provide them with a great quality of service.
You never get a second chance to make a first impression!
When you meet someone for the first time, a part of your brain called the limbic brain starts to register what you are seeing and begins the process of deciding two thing: firstly, do you feel safe with this person or situation and secondly, can I trust this person or situation. Does that seem a little far fetched to you?
When i’m coaching my business clients to get this point across I ask them these questions;
- Would you go into business with someone you didn’t trust or feel safe with?
- Would you hire someone to work within your team, represent your business or company who you didn’t trust or feel safe with?
The wise answer would be no.
Let’s take this back to you and the service you provide.
A customer or service user walks in, within 0.4 seconds they have started processing to work these two answers out, now as a customer / visitor those two vital questions are usually represented by do I feel respected (safe) as well as can I trust this service, this person, this environment. Within 30 seconds the brain thinks it knows everything it needs to know about the situation to make a judgement which then becomes a fixed rule. Once you have created a first impression and the fixed rule comes into play then it is extremely difficult to change that impression about you, you may not get a second chance let alone a whole load more to change their opinion about you. In business this can have a damaging effect on your profile and therefor your profits.
So how can you maximise on those first 30 seconds? Here are 7 quick but highly effective tips to use right now and transform your immediate relationship building skills.
- Eye contact is what we call pro-connecting behaviour. This doesn’t mean that you have to stare the person out, combined with the other non verbal cues I will share with you, soft muscles around the eyes and good eye contact is a great way to immediately start that connection process before even one word passes between you.
- A smile. Research shows that we remember people more if they smile. A smile is warm, welcoming and puts us at ease because it tells us that we are welcome and that we can relax a little.
- Relaxed shoulders. A tense shift, a long day, frustration, anxiety and nerves; all these emotions can sit on our shoulder (it’s where we carry and try and hold up our world). Our shoulders can become tense and start looking like they are extensions of our ears rather than our necks, the only thing is you will look tense and when you look tense and greet someone tensely they will mirror that unconsciously because we resonate with our environment if we start to feel unsure and can become guarded.
- We all know about open body language but the reason i’m slipping this one in is because when I walked up to a receptionist the other day at a hotel to book in, the receptionist herself greater me with her arms folded and a stern look on her face. I didn’t feel welcomed at all, intact I felt awkward – is that how you want your customers to feel. So open shoulders and arms unfolded is an inviting behaviour.
- Tone of voice. This all depends on the situation and the environment, but generally friendly and direct. You don’t have to over soften word or go high pitched, the lower pitches tend to instil more confidence that a higher pitched tone but keep it warm and inviting.
- Consider the words that you say within those first few seconds, to my business clients I warn them against an immediate jump in. Set the baseline for trust, let business flow after that has started. Don’t bamboozle your customer or visitor, a simple “How can I help you?” The ‘How’ invites an open conversation where you get to show case your customer care skills which is what you want to happen because by this point you can embed in your great rapport skills.
- The first impression that you want to give will change depending on where you are and what you want to achieve. So before you go out there to start making that impression firstly think about what image you would like to give the other person. What you think and feel, your intentions and emotions will come through in your body language because it is the most fluent form of communication that we have so if you can focus on a particular image of yourself that you want to get across, you are more likely to actually behave in that way.
The non verbal world is the most powerful way we can communicate, it’s the most fluent and wonderfully accurate way we can get a message across and when we get it right we can produce amazingly powerful, highly effective and influential results that everyone can benefit from.
Want to know more about body language? check out my website at Kaizen Insight