Who's Out Front for You?

Every interaction a person has with your brand has an impact on associations that make up brand image and ultimately, liking (or disliking). Face-to-face experiences customers have with your employees are a critical channel for shaping brand perceptions. An enjoyable experience reinforces one’s decision to be a customer; a bad encounter can call into question why to do business with a company whose service leaves something to be desired.

The above comments state the obvious- the importance of good customer service is understood. This issue comes to mind because I have noticed a stark contrast in the interactions that occur at the front desk at the recreation center on the campus where I work. I have been going to the rec center several days a week for almost 10 years now, and it does not take long to realize that its approach to service would put a for-profit fitness center out of business quickly. Most of the customer contact staff is made up of students, and whether it is inexperience, lack of training, or apathy, a service orientation is sorely lacking.

One exception to the unremarkable customer service is Ashley. I look forward to going to the rec center on Tuesdays and Thursdays because Ashley is at the front desk. She greets each person entering and leaving the facility and usually strikes up a conversation. I complimented Ashley on her performance, and she attributed her approach to the influence of her parents and a decision to have fun doing the job. Ashley represents the type of person a business needs to have on the front lines. Her smile and demeanor create a positive initial impression for rec center visitors. Unfortunately, there are not more Ashleys on staff, making her performance stand out even more.

Who’s out front for you? Do you have an Ashley that can warm up customers and even disarm them when they are unhappy? If not, it is time to make a change to improve the initial impression people form about your brand.

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