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There’s the old question, “Who’s the most important employee at a hotel?” and the answer is, the doorman (or doorwoman). They’re the first-person guests see and from whom they get their first impression.

I thought of this recently when I was at the grocery store and Starbucks. At the store I made sure to avoid the checkout line with the person Jan and I call “Chatty.” He just doesn’t stop talking. And he’ll say things like, “I’m not a sports fan but the Seahawks really need to do the following…”

Our local Starbucks has a barista who makes coming into the store enjoyable. She’s cheerful, remembers people, and it’s not overboard. I actually went to the Starbucks website and put in a good word for her.

So, who’s the face of your company?

  • Is it chatty or the enjoyable barista?
  • Is it a salesperson who responds to customer calls promptly and is helpful or a receptionist who acts inconvenienced when people call (or worse yet, an auto attendant that takes a few minutes to let you know they can’t direct your call to the right person)?
  • Do service people in the field make the impression the owner wants conveyed to customers?

There’s a story in If They Can Sell Pet Rocks Why Can’t You Sell Your Business (For What You Want?) about when an associate and I visited a client’s business and noticed how filthy the entry way was. We then realized the reason the employees were eating lunch in their cars was because the lunchroom was dirtier than the entry.

Compare that to a manufacturing business we had previously visited and commented, “You could eat off the floor here.” That’s the impression every business should want to make.

“After I’m dead I’d rather have people ask why I have no monument than why I have one.” (Roman historian) Cato the Elder

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