Your business has one chance to make a great first impression. Here’s how to get it right.

You probably remember a time when you walked into a store (or any business, for that matter), and things just felt off. The merchandise was a mess, you were the only one in there, and the person behind the front desk seemed like they had better things to do. Chances are that was the first and only time you shopped there, and you might even warn your friends to steer clear.

Now put yourself in your customer’s shoes: would they have a similar reaction on their first visit to your business, or are you going out of your way to make a great first impression? If you’re leaning toward the former (or just wouldn’t say you’re going out of your way), here are three things you should be doing to impress your customers right off the bat.

Keep it clean

Restaurant and retail business owners know the importance of keeping a clean space – or, at least, they should. Having items strewn around the store, an unappealing exterior, or worse, bad smells coming from the back will give the impression that buying from you is a similarly unorganized and unpleasant experience, so never underestimate the power of standardized rack spacing or a little curb appeal. But this also applies to business owners in other industries, including those who operate solely online. Your digital storefront should be equally appealing as any brick-and-mortar business, and it should create a seamless experience for customers that encourages them to stick around (and hopefully come back). 

Make it personal

During your business hours, customers should be able to get hold of somebody who is a) not a chatbot, and b) is willing to go the extra mile to help them find the right product, service, or solution. In other words, great customer service is key, online and in-person. So try to go beyond the basic, “Let me know if I can help you find anything,” but no matter what you say, you’d better say it with a smile.

People attract people

Have you ever bought from a business that had no reviews, no online presence, or you have hardly ever seen a soul go in or out of the front door? Yeah, didn’t think so. People attract people, which is where word-of-mouth marketing comes in. Encouraging reviews, feedback, and recommendations from customers is one of the top ways to bring in new business, as people are typically more likely to trust the opinions of their friends than the minds behind an advertisement. According to a “Global Trust in Advertising” study from Neilsen, 83 percent of people polled said they trust the recommendations of friends and family, and a similar study found that 92 percent of people trust recommendations from other people – even strangers.

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