Sunday, November 18, 2012

Curb Appeal or Blurb Appeal?

First impressions are formed long before first encounters.

By the time people get to you, they’ve already verified your reputation from a variety of virtual sources. Thanks to online reviews, friend recommendations, price comparisons, smartphone apps, geolocating programs and social media conversations, curb appeal has been replaced by blurb appeal.

Consider the implications of this shift on your business.

Smarter buyers. Treating customers like idiots won’t work anymore. It’s not only disrespectful, it’s expensive. And when it happens, people won’t take it personally, they’ll just walk away.

Greater accountability. If your service experience violates the expectations people already have, they’re going to call you on the carpet. And when it happens, people will demand that you honor the online promises they came for.

Quicker transactions. When customers walk in the door toting papers, pictures and prices, they’re not browsing – they’re buying. And because they’re already sold themselves, you’re just the concierge.

It’s kind of spooky.

First impressions used to form in the first ten seconds.

But now, the interaction has inverted.

If you’re waiting until they walk in the door to make a first impression, it’s too late.