First impressions count

19th of December 2019
First impressions count

UK reporter Lynn Webster on how important first impressions are, and how cleaning plays a vital role.

There are many training programmes that emphasise the need to make that first impression count. We don’t get a second chance to make a good ‘first impression’ and interestingly according to one university study people make 11 decisions about us in the first seven seconds of contact, so the clock is ticking. Whether this is with a new client; at an interview for a new job or promotion; at a sales presentation or just the times you want someone to think well of you as an individual - we are well aware of this behaviour.

Experience has shown me that not only people but places should take note of such advice and be mindful of both a good quality entrance and the impact of a poorly cleaned facility. A recent visit to my local airport demonstrated just this with extremely poor cleaning outcomes clearly visible as I waited for an early morning flight.

The cleaning specification, the service delivery and generally the performance and process of clean all made a contribution to this judgement. Some suggest we get what we pay for; as a commercial enterprise there are budgets to be met but at what cost? As the entrance to the UK ‘Northern Powerhouse’ this was certainly not an appropriate welcome.

First impressions have the ability to make or break a business, and a positive experience can create long-lasting business relationships. Once a first impression is made, if it’s less than great, unfortunately it takes a long time to change it. Businesses want to be successful so it is vital those who have cause to connect receive the very best impression from the outset.

In a recent survey cleanliness was top of the list when it came to customer satisfaction. That was higher than value for money, quality and even customer service! Perception is everything. If customers feel the facility is unhygienic and dirty, they simply won’t want to give their custom.

As cleaning service providers, in-house or externally, there are therefore major challenges to uphold clients’ first impressions. People tend to look at the floor when they’re entering somewhere new to prevent them from falling or slipping in unfamiliar territory so a clean floor, litter free and dry, is important. One bad washroom experience is an impression likely to be shared with many others.

In a consumer survey, 50 per cent of people said they would tell friends and family about a negative experience and 46 per cent said they would avoid going to an establishment based on a poor washroom review. This, TripAdvisor and social media reviews add a further dimension to the cleaning challenge.

The exterior of a client’s office building is the first thing potential clients and visitors see and is often missed even though it yields an extremely important first impression. A filthy, stained exterior, collections of cigarette stubs at the entrance, dirty and overflowing refuse containers all contribute to a less than pleasing look, and with a regular faux pas of the stained or soiled caution sign that displays your company name or logo.

The cleaning industry is certainly in the right place with the best opportunity to make every first impression count, hopefully yours is a good one!


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