What Do Your Customers Hear?

I was asked recently to name the most important trait that successful retail businesses exhibit. The answer to me is obvious – they manage first impressions at every point of contact with their customers. While there are several key points of contact during a typical interaction with a potential flooring customer, there is none more important than answering your business’ telephone.

Are your phones answered by a living, breathing person or by a robot? Is there a consistent message every call? Does the person answering have a pleasant tone? Do they appear grateful that you called, or do you sense that you are bothering them? We have all formed opinions of a business simply based upon how we were initially treated on the phone.

We have all heard the saying stating that, “you never get a second chance to make a good first impression”. We have all heard this for good reason – because it is so! Mastering this critical point of contact is a business culture that requires continual vigilance by both management and staff. How much time and effort is spent on an ongoing basis by your firm training this seemingly simple task? Successful firms realize that to be in control of the customer experience, you must first take control of the customer’s experience.

While this may seem like a small thing, remember that a business transaction is made up of many small parts. The firms that master the small things consistently are richly rewarded for their efforts. Those who choose not to expend the effort required, will likely think of these successful firms as just being lucky. Properly manage the customer’s perceptions and you will create your own good luck!

Tom Jennings

Monday, June 11, 2012