You’ve heard the saying, “You only have one opportunity to make a first impression.” While it may be a cliché, it is true. A positive first impression is an important start to building a relationship with your customers.

Whether the interaction is over the phone or in-person, the initial impression can set the tone for the entire customer experience.

The tone of voice also is important when answering the phone. I am sure you’ve heard the saying, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it.” When communicating over the phone, 86 percent of the impact is in your tone, and 14 percent of the impact is based on your words.

When you or your employees are upset and hurried, that comes through over the phone. When you are indifferent and distracted, that also comes across. You don’t need to have a great phone voice to show the customer you are engaged, focused, concerned and happy to serve them. Your greeting communicates a lot to the caller.

Consistency is important, so develop a greeting for your rental organization, and share it with your entire team. Set the bar high. You want to build an organization where your customers expect a great first impression every time.

The challenge in the rental world is that you often hire people with a technical and operational background. They are hard workers and strong contributors to your company.

However, some lack the customer service and sales skills needed to deliver that positive and memorable first impression.

Your first impression may seem simple enough, but it does make a difference. It is a great way to stand out from the competition and get a relationship started on the right track. Don’t leave the first impression to chance – set your team up for success!

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