Locally, we have two grocery stores, with one much closer to my house. I do shop there, but I find myself longing for the further of the two. Why? From the moment you pull in, there are wider parking spots—or about a foot of space between spots. Enter all girl driver jokes here, but I drive a tank, and I love having the extra room. From the moment I pull in, my experience is better. They set the expectation of a better overall experience from the parking lot.
They carry this experience throughout your shopping adventure, from daycare for your kids to offering to load up of your groceries after you check out, and umbrellas when it rains.
Last week, I stopped at a Starbucks between appointments. As I got out of the car I was greeted with light music. Why? The shopping center is setting the mood. For me to have this gap in my schedule is pretty rare, so after I got a coffee, I grabbed my laptop and wondered what the Wi-Fi password might be. No need to wonder as it was an open network—a partnership with Google. It was simple. It was a better experience.
These experiences all happened without interaction. This made me wonder how we, as custom integrators, can set first impressions before we ever meet the client, and how this is a necessary talent in this age of tech.
1) Google yourself: What would someone enter into Google or other search engines? What happens when you enter your company name? Your name? Make sure you know what they are seeing, and make sure it is professional. Web searches are often how first impressions happen, and if what one sees is bad reviews, you will never get the chance to win them over with a phone call or meeting.
2) Visit your website with fresh eyes: Sure you know what you do and where to find any information about yourself, but what about someone new landing on your page for the first time? What do they see? What is their first impression? Insider tip: use your social network and poll a few friends about the experience.
3) Call yourself: What is the user experience when calling your company? I once had a client tell me he calls his company at least once a week to make sure the user experience is the same, and this company has hundreds of employees. Small companies often get lost in their smallness and don’t believe they need to take these same precautions. You do.
4) Role-Play: It is silly, and our ego stands in the way of this happening. However, this could be the most important lesson for your team. What experience does the client have when they walk in the door? How are they trained on how to use a remote? Something as simple as handing the remote to the client while you train them can make all the difference in the world.
5) Walk in through your front door: If you do have a retail location, walk in through your front door. Ever think you have a clean house until a friend stops over? Suddenly you see all the clutter you have turned a blind eye to. Same thing happens to our showrooms. We think they look great until we look again with fresh eyes. Is there music outside? Is your front stoop clean? Are countertops in disarray?
6) Have the installers show up at your house: What is the experience when your installers show up at the home? Everything from the truck, to the dress code, to their attitude is representing what the company is. The impression is especially important for those of you without showrooms!
In this digital age, impressions happen long before we meet a client face to face. Make sure you are putting the right message forward. Take a birds-eye view of your company and make sure the client’s first experience is a good one!