You cannot NOT make a first impression! Every time, without fail, it happens. Over the phone, you have maybe a few seconds. According to some research I’ve found, in person first impressions happen…literally in the blink of an eye! Wow!
With permission, I’ve borrowed a story written by Geri Lazar of DynaTech Generators. She’s provided an excellent illustration of the power of first impression. Since she delivered her point so well, I’ve kept her writing in its original form. Here is what she wrote to her team:
I have a confession to make to you. When I first came to DynaTech, I thought our greeting of “how may I serve you” was just a little over the top. It took some getting used to. Nowadays I even sometimes answer my personal phone with a happy “this is Geri—how may I serve you”. It always cracks my brother up and he will tell me to bring him a snack and the paper.
The message behind this greeting is very powerful. How we speak to customers on the phone, in the office, and in the field is very important. We must always be aware of how we greet people. Sometimes our greeting is the first introduction of DynaTech to the customer. Let’s make it positive!
Ok—so this came about because of a personal experience last night. On my way home, I stopped at Dairy Queen to get my hubby a milkshake. I pulled up to the drive thru and my greeting from the employee was “WHAT DO YOU WANT”. No nice inflection in his voice—no happy to have your business kind of greeting. I thought maybe this was just a high school kid with no manners or business sense. I sat in that drive thru line, waiting my turn, thinking about how much impact a simple greeting has---- oh and by the way—this was an adult –maybe 25-30.
We all get an AH HA moment—mine was last night at Dairy Queen.
“How may I serve you” has a much greater meaning today. Just saying.
What do you do? You must THINK and ACT. Be aware, then act upon the situation by smiling – even on the phone, sounding nice by having an approachable voice tone, and often using a well-written script like Geri’s example. Scripting can be challenging up front since it may not have been written by you; however, if it’s done well and you understand the purpose, you’ll begin to “own” it over time and it won’t sound scripted. Plus, scripting, again done right, will help brand the organization.
Think about the DynaTech example…they’re branding the element of serving others. Yeah, that’s a pretty good first impression, plus they back it up with everything that happens after the first impression. That gives the first impression what it needs – INTEGRITY.