As a business owner, investing time in a business is mandatory. Speaking for myself, I can relate to the challenges that frequently come from investing the time, capital, and energy associated with building a business. While my ambition fuels my drive to do what I love to do—graphic design and marketing—I also find myself going the extra mile regularly to add value to those I serve.
Recently however, I experienced a like-minded business owner who went the extra mile for me. I have to admit she made an impression on me.
Creating First Impressions
A recent weekend stay at a Canadian bed and breakfast (I’ll refrain from mentioning the B&B name without the owner’s permission) made a lasting impression on me. I found myself easily relating to this business owner from a service perspective; since she outdid my expectations. What was so impressionable? She capitalized on old-school principles that resonated with me; a practice I regularly employ.
Establish A Connection That’s Positive
As a new B&B business owner, it was pertinent that she established a good relationship. Here’s what she did to create value in her business.
• Provided A Quick Response. After making my arrangements on Tripadvisor, I called with an inquiry, and received her voice mail. Almost immediately, I received a call back and was greeted with an apology and a confirmation of my stay; as well as a response to my question.
Old-School Principle—Respond quickly. As a business owner, responding fairly quickly or within 24 hours is a reasonable time frame. Sooner is always better and demonstrates proficiency and reassurance.
• Follow Up. On the day of my travel I received a text from her with an inquiry as to my arrival time. I responded with an estimated time of arrival and courteously told her I’d let her know when I reached the U.S. border. Later that day, I called to let her know I’d probably be later than expected, she offered to look up my wait times at the border informing me I’d have a 10 minute wait. She was right.
Old-School Principle—Always Follow Up. A call or note always builds good business-to-business relationships. If the follow up brings about an inquiry, then getting a answer relatively soon, is an easy way to exceeding a customer’s expectations. As a general rule, any question deserves a response, and following through to provide that feedback creates a positive impression.
• Professional Impressions. When I finally arrived, the owner was nicely dressed and reviewed all my stay accommodations as well as breakfast options. Each morning she dressed nicely, was friendly, and the food preparation was always freshly made.
Old-School Principle—Create An Impression. First impressions are always lasting ones. It’s so true and easy to do. In the professional world, dressing professionally has increasingly evolved to casual attire. Today, when someone is dressed nicely they tend to stand out more, simply because it’s so rare to see.
• Knowledgeable About Area Activities. Every morning started with a good morning greeting, followed up with an inquiry as to my day’s plans. The conversation always included suggestions for local sights or activities. A mention about the weather and the day’s temperatures were also part of our conversation.
Old School Principle—Be helpful. It’s not about being asked, but providing helpful information before you’re asked. As this B&B owner demonstrated, these are questions she’ gets asked frequently. By having this information handy, she shows she’s knowledgeable about her guest’s daily inquiries. This creates a positive first impression and one her customer’s value.
As my stay came to an end, my host graciously invited me to come again as she handed me her business card. The entire weekend was fun, and my stay was one I’d love to repeat.