Improving The Perception Of Your Company’s Inner Workings
As soon as someone walks through your front door they are already forming an impression of your organization simply based on what they see and hear.
There is little doubt that a depressed economic climate has contributed to the reduction in the number jobs and electronic systems contracting (ESC) firms within our channel. But, it is usually the most professionally run firms that have the best chance of survival.
Last month I explored several ways that your organization can be perceived, positively and negatively, by the outside world. This month I want to stress the importance of providing your clients with an impression look at inside of your company
TAKING CLIENTS ‘BEHIND THE CURTAIN’
When we have clients visit us, I always try to include a short tour of our facility. As ESCs, we tend to think of the complex systems that we install and integrate as relatively commonplace. We sometimes forget that most of our clients don’t possess much knowledge about how we accomplish our work, and they are for the most part quite interested in seeing what goes on “behind the curtain.”
You can use this curiosity to your advantage by simply walking clients, builders, architects, designers, or other interested parties through your facility and explaining what the various people on your team do and how your process works. In my experience, this can be invaluable in establishing you and your organization as truly professional.
While it is obvious that a cinema, boardroom, or other dedicated demonstration space should be top notch, I believe there are other, less obvious areas of your business that can also impact how others see your organization from the inside. Let’s look at some specific areas you of your internal operations that could deserve special attention.
FIRST IMPRESSION: THE RECEPTION AREA
As soon as someone walks through your front door they are already forming an impression of your organization simply based on what they see and hear. While there is no requirement for you to create a reception area that would compete with the Mercedes dealership, the closer you can come to providing the same feeling, the better. It’s not about spending large sums of money on fine furnishings and artwork; it’s far more important to create a sense of tranquility, organization, and efficiency. Try to create a visually clean and simple environment that is elegant, inviting, and comfortable. If there is music playing in your reception area (and there should be) make sure it is what your target client would want to hear, not what your staff brought in on their iPod that day.
Richard Millson (richard. firstname.lastname@example.org) is president of Vancouver-based Millson Multimedia.
Your warehouse space also can provide an excellent opportunity for communicating the quality and professionalism of your organization. When most people think of a “warehouse” that last thing that they envision is a clean, organized, well-lit environment that silently promotes a feeling of finely tuned efficiency. And that is, of course, exactly why you need to do everything you can to create that kind of space in your organization. The implication for visitors is clear; if the warehouse is this well organized, then it’s very likely that the same level of care will be demonstrated in their project as well.
This one might seem obvious in some ways because using company vehicles as a form of promotion for the company is very common in our industry. However, I would argue that if your goal is to achieve a higher level of professionalism, then there are better ways to communicate that than wraparound graphics. The key here is to focus on function, not flash. Ensuring your vehicles are always clean, well maintained, and outfitted with the right tools and features to make your technicians as efficient and productive as possible is a better long-term strategy. The bottom line is that covering your vehicles in extensive graphics is what the big box guys do and as ESC’s we want to differentiate ourselves from that market segment, not emulate it.
Regardless of the size or sophistication of your operation, your work place and your vehicles need to say the right things about your organization. If you’re proud of what you do and focus on the details of your business, then your clients will be impressed by the inner workings of your company.