Create A Team of… Director of First Impressions.
February 13, 2012 Leave a comment
I was inspired to write this post after reading an article in Fast Company©. The article reminded me of a conversation I had a few months back with a past co-worker.
He was excited that the staff he hired was more educated than ever before – but frustrated because his budgets were cut so his ability to help these great new people learn the culture of the organization and be productive team members was near impossible.
So, to all of you in the same boat (as my dad would have said), I offer you this perspective.
Your employees are your most valuable – and probably your most expensive asset. They are central to every customer experience.
- Finding your customers
- Answering questions / concerns
- Conducting marketing research
- Designing new products / services
- Invoicing and collecting
- and more…
Yet your financial success is hanging by a thread. To be successful your employees have to find a balance between doing their jobs and always making good first impressions.
Customer Relationships Are Built On Customer Experiences
Successful reputations are no longer created only by marketing strategies. Your brand is determined by how each customer / prospect ‘feels‘ after they have contact with your employees. Then they decide if they will do business with… your employees / your company.
First impressions are made in 1 to 4 minutes and people make these judgments as soon as they:
- Meet your employees
- Read an email from your employees
- Sit through a presentation by your employees
- Visit your website… designed by your employees
So it’s important all your employees know how to be Director of First Impressions – no matter what their job is.
Yet training to be a great Sales Person, Advertiser, Product Developer or Accountant doesn’t include how to manage expectations or make good first impressions. When did any of us receive communication training?
At university I learned a skill but not how to write a short, to-the-point email or to create and deliver professional presentations. At home my parents taught me about values and work ethics… but not business etiquette or email etiquette.
And the problem is getting worse. An associate of mine is teaching a college course and was instructed by the college to grade his class on how well they seem to understand the material – not their writing or presentation skills.
Communication Challenges Cause Customers & Employees To Leave
Our most valuable assets are trying to be their best to make the company profitable using their education and skills… but are being frustrated because they are having trouble building relationships and getting their work done. They might even be creating enemies along the way.
For both employees and customers this frustration begins soon after their professional relationships begin. Feelings of not being appreciated and of not being given the service or opportunities promised. This frustration starts your customers looking for a new service provider and your employers looking for a new employer. This means a drain to your ROI as the investment you’ve already made in your customers and employees will be lost.
We all know it’s more profitable to keep an existing customer rather than to find a new one. Frederick Reichheld of Bain & Company reports that acquiring a new customer can cost 6 to 7 times more than retaining an existing customer. A stat I’ve seen many times during my career.
It’s also more profitable to keep a talented employee than to find, hire and train a new one. William G. Bliss estimates the cost of losing an employee is 150 – 250% of their salary. He calculates that for a company with 10,000 employees the cost of turnover equals $75 million (or $750,000 for a company with 100 employees)!
Investing In Your Employees Is An Investment In Your Company
If these last two calculations are even half true, it’s clearly economical to invest in employees and help them learn the skills they didn’t learn in school – as we’ve discussed: How to be Directors of First Impressions.
The benefit is that employees want to be productive, fulfilled and they want some stability. They also are fully capable of building the relationships customers want. Employees just need a bit of help to know how to communicate well in this electronic world they do business in.
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Bruce Mayhew Consulting facilitates courses including Email Etiquette, Managing Difficult Conversations, Multigenerational Training, Time Management and Mindfulness.
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