You will never get a second chance to make a first impression, so said Will Rogers and so agrees Chris Lowe, regional director of Shopper Anonymous.

Sometimes, within our own environment we can be oblivious to what, to other people, is the glaringly obvious. That is a good time to take a step back and let someone else take a look for you.

Chris has many years within the customer service industry and shares some advice and opinions with our readers:

What Does Your Signage Say About You?

Recently I was walking around London, passing hundreds of businesses. I became interested in the signage of each business, a tell-tale sign and hint of what may lie within.

Whilst the design and presentation of each sign was an insight into the business itself, I also noticed the cleanliness (or not) of each sign. Odd how some businesses seem to have invested heavily in design and frontage appeal, yet failed to maintain the signage. Some were so dirty with grime and graffiti it was hard to discern the actual name!

I noticed that in many cases a few casually attached signs or notices could often detract from the main signage, especially in the modern era of ‘no smoking’. Doorways of many buildings being occupied by smokers must be a problem but, if the sign was worded along the lines of ‘Thank you for using the bins provided for all litter’, the impression would have been a little more positive.

First impressions really do count!
First impressions really do count!

Compare the two signs above: a spelling error in one did not really engender a feeling of professionalism and the large, red ‘NOT’ and the ‘PLEASE!!!!!’ shouted rather than hint at a rather desperate plea. 

Conversely, Dickie Fitz bar had taken a different approach which made me smile: The Guests of Dickie Fitz’ implied a sense of belonging, like an exclusive group, and the use of the words ‘respect’, ‘enjoy’ and ‘quietly’ are all words with pleasant, mature and soft connotations that no-one could really take offence at. Clearly, drinkers and smokers may congregate outside at times and the restaurant was compelled to remind its customers to be considerate of the neighbours. This notice endeared me to the business rather than alienated or threatened me.

There are many different ways to get your message across and by rewording a simple message or notice you can completely change the ‘tone of voice’.

Take a look outside 

The exterior of your business can invite potential customers in or turn them away. A potential customer will make a decision within the first seven seconds. That’s a very short window in which to advertise your business!

If you have invested time and money in creating a great first impression it goes without saying that EVERY sign or notice should enhance your first impression.

If your business is virtual or entirely internet-based, your website is your signage and should be a major source of investment in order to ensure you set the correct tone, level of professionalism and image.

If your business is a physical premise, spend some time this week walking the customer journey to examine, with fresh eyes, the image your business is portraying. You might have the very best, locally-sourced, reasonably priced, salivatingly-good rump steak in the country but if your customers are put off by shabby signage or a dirty exterior, they may never actually become your customers!

Image is everything and your message should be clear and positive on every level. Whether it’s temporary or permanent, aimed at employees or customers, every visual example of signage should be in keeping with the image you are portraying. It can make all the difference. 

Thank you to Chris Lowe for providing his Expert Opinion

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