Be Creative and Proactive About Making Positive First Impressions

When was the last time you and other key people in your enterprise focused on the vital factors that make an immediate impression on customers, prospects and potential employees? If it’s been a while, we suggest you zero in on these important areas:

•    Your entryway and lobby. Are they clean and inviting? What does the décor say about your business? If it’s shabby or overly stark, the message won’t be positive. Also, if there’s an area for customers/clients to wait, have you provided comfortable seating and appropriate reading material?

•    Your receptionist. Is this staff member’s attire and demeanor professional? Does she or he greet visitors promptly and warmly? If someone must wait for several minutes, does your receptionist offer him or her water, coffee or some other beverage?

•    Your telephones. The guidelines honored by Ritz-Carlton hotel employees set high standards—namely, “Answer within three rings and smile; ask permission to put callers on hold; don’t screen calls; and eliminate call transfers when possible.”

•    Your collateral materials. Take another look at your company’s website, business cards, letterhead, brochures, display ads and so forth. Do their various design elements combine to convey an overall positive and powerful impression?

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