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How long does it take to make a first impression? One second, fifteen seconds, one minute or five minutes? If you answered one second or less, you are correct. That’s right, it takes only one second or less to make a first impression.
How does this information make you feel about the front desk at your facility? What is the “snapshot” you get when you enter your club? Let’s take it a step further. There are studies that have proven that even after five or ten minutes, over 80 percent of people will have the exact same impression as they did after one second. You don’t get a second chance to make a first impression.
Is the person at your desk sitting or are they standing? Standing communicates energy. Sitting — not so much. How about the smell? If your club smells like a dirty sock immediately upon entering, you have likely already lost that prospect. I want you to put on the lens of a consumer and really think about the first second in your facility.
Once you establish the first impression you have to keep it up with a consistently good customer experience. Think about how your staff dresses. Do they wear tank tops and short shorts, or are they professional? You should control the uniform. Give your team a uniform code and stick to it. It doesn’t have to be polo’s and khakis — find something that fits your brand. We keep it simple with black, white or grey shirts with our logo embroidered. We offer an annual uniform allowance to each employee. They choose their items; we approve them and then have the items logoed.
We coach everything from touch techniques (appropriate), body language and a host of other techniques that enhance the customer experience. These “soft” skills are coachable and can make or break the overall satisfaction of your customers.
Create systems around key human functions and then hold your team accountable. Example: When I enter my facilities and am not greeted by someone in one second, I count aloud “one thousand one” because that is all it takes for a client to make a first impression about our club. I know my team doesn’t love me for this, but they understand how important it is and buy in to getting better every day.