Don't Be Fooled, Appearance Matters

May 30, 2007

We’ve all heard the saying “You shouldn’t judge a book by its cover.” Unfortunately, this doesn’t apply to people in the business world. Over the years, Water Quality Products has featured various articles that offer business advice to water dealers, but we can’t say enough about the importance of customer perception. Recently, a carpet steam-cleaning ad assured customers that all of the company’s employees are professional, reliable and go through a background check. It reminded me that whether we think it’s fair or not, appearance matters.

As independently owned companies, dealerships also must focus on satisfying their customers and making them feel safe in the presence of sales staff and technicians. After all, customers are expected to open their doors to a salesman that has come to perform a demo, or the technician installing their newly purchased RO system. So the question is: If most customers evaluate your staff on how they dress and behave, do you think they will pass the test?

Going back to my earlier example about the carpet cleaning service, I did some additional research and found out that the Internet offers consumers various information and advice about shopping for these services.

For example, consumers are advised to do their homework and learn everything they can about the company by visiting their local Better Business Bureau’s website. A major concern is the employee background check. It is recommended that consumers find out what type of background check the service company does on their employees—“You want to make sure that you are going to be safe before inviting strangers in your home,” the experts recommend.

Today, an increasing number of companies are resorting to employee background checks. If you’re wondering why, just add up the time and money spent to hire and train a new employee and decide whether it is worth it to invest in someone who will not meet your expectations.

Another interesting trend among small business owners is vehicle branding. According to the Transportation Advertising Council, commuter marketing can generate between 50,000 and 70,000 impressions per day. Whether your staff is out on a simple salt delivery route or doing installations, there is no better way to quickly and cost-effectively boost your company image and services than to feature your company logo and contact information on a new or well- maintained vehicle.

These examples illustrate how important it is for a business to identify lost opportunities and try to regain them. With this in mind, I suggest you start at a place that leads to immediate results. Simple things, such as professionally dressed and well-groomed staff, and a company vehicle with your logo on it, are factors that can assure customers your employees are competent, knowledgeable and reliable—and let’s not forget—safe to invite into their home.

About the Author

Neda Simeonova

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