Customer service training often focuses on the human element of the first impression. Visual first impressions are equally important, and signage can play an important role. Signs can reinforce your brand and your customer service commitment or they can negate the very image you are trying to project. When was the last time you did an audit of the visual first impressions received by your customers?
Some of you are traveling to beach destinations this summer. We once rented a condo at a beach property we had not previously visited. What was the visual first impression as I entered my vacation nirvana? A sign was taped to the elevator wall...
Is this message important? Yes, but wouldn't a sign saying, "Welcome to The Beach!" generate a better first impression? The towel instruction could have be placed next to or below the greeting. (Notice that saying 'Please' wasn't enough to make it a positive first impression!) A friend asked if I would rent there again and I responded that I would not. When pondering why I gave that answer since the condo itself was very nice, I realized that it was entirely due to my first impression of the property BEFORE entering the unit I was renting! No one greeted me, the entrance was not visually appealing, and the signage was not welcoming.
A business manager who approached a billing company to discuss having payments processed saw the following signs on the door: **
NO SOLICITATIONS WHAT SO EVER
NO CARDS, NO PAMPHLETS NOT ONE LITTLE THING.
WE APOLOGIZE TO OUR CLIENTS FOR POSTING SUCH A RUDE NOTICE BUT APPARENTLY SALES PEOPLE DON'T KNOW HOW TO READ.
As if that wasn't enough, below that sign was another sign!
THIS MEANS YOU!
What was the reaction of the potential client who had approached the door of this business for the first time? He was extremely offended by the signs, turned around, and left. He commented: "I and many on my staff are professional salespeople. This business would not be able to exist if other businesses were not actively selling their products and services."
Not long ago, I drove past a new nail salon. The business had obviously invested in a calming neutral décor, massage chairs etc. Then I saw it.... Duct taped to a window was a sign on horrible yellow corrugated board with bright red letters that said, "OPEN SUNDAY". The business image designed to create a quality and serene atmosphere was overcome by a sign that did the exact opposite.
I recently noticed a sign on the wall of a newly renovated fast food establishment above their drink dispenser: NO Outside Drink Refills! The sign aimed at a probable small percentage of customers who would abuse the drink system to me said, ëYou are probably going to try to rip us off!' All the money spent on renovation, and this is the impression given to customers!
Here are a few questions to ask when doing a SIGN AUDIT of your business:
If the answers to any of these questions are 'NO', perhaps some adjustments are necessary!
Have you seen any signs that give a negative or positive customer service impression? If so, share with us in a comment on this post!
If you are reading this article somewhere other than my website and cannot see the pictures of the signs, click on over to AllenSpeaks.com!