Your mother likely told you that you did not get a second chance to make a good first impression. That is literally true but may not be completely accurate in its intent. But, the point of the power of first impressions is a solid one. And, one to be carefully considered as a service provider. The power is amplified if your first impression helps tell your story.
The windows in Saks on Fifth Avenue in NYC are decorated to the hilt at Christmas. It is not just a collection of attractive retail displays, it tells the customer about the brand and what it represents. The lobby of the Ritz-Carlton hotel near me trumpets casual elegance and a refined ambiance from the centerpiece flowers to the giant rock fireplace to the warm greeting from the receptionist.
This photo is of the reception area at my doctor’s office. Look at it closely for it is a story of his practice. You first see a clock. Unlike the stereotypical doctor who seems to take pride in making you wait a long time, Dr. T is a stickler for being on time. And, if he is running a bit late, he personally comes out to the reception area and tells you. The second item you see is a stack of magazine. His choice of reading material supports learning, not entertaining. He often copies articles from medical journals for your homework on his medical findings.
The bowl of candy might surprise you in a doctor’s office. But, Dr. T is about enjoying life not being a strict un-fun pursuit of a medically pure life. When I told him I enjoyed a drink of Jack Daniels at night, he was supportive…especially, since my cholesterol was low, my blood pressure normal, and my kidney numbers perfect on my bi-annual blood work! He is not a “be super healthy” nut; he is an “enjoy a healthy life” nut.
But, the best part of the first impression scene are the marble balls on a tic-tac-toe board. It screams to patients to always keep their minds in mental gymnastics. He walks that talk! Long grandfathered from taking medical boards, at 70+ he elected to take the rigorous exam anyway. His nurse says if he is not meeting patients he is online reading medical journals.
Go out to your parking lot and come back in the front door to ascertain whether your first impression tells the story of your brand. Log onto your website like customers might with the same purview. If your story is fuzzy, think what it must be to customers who know nothing about your business. First impressions telegraph your commitment to a crystal-clear message about who you are and your intentions in the marketplace.