Like many people in Rwanda, I am extremely excited when new players in the service industry come onboard. So you will understand why I was in a hurry to visit Kigali’s new ‘in-restaurant’.
The Panoramic Restaurant at Mille Collines Hotel has just been renovated and upgraded into a classy and elegant restaurant, offering gastronomic dishes. The new Italian chef seems to be doing wonders with some local products, as well as imported ones like seafood, duck, scallops.
When one enters the restaurant, what catches the eyes is the sophisticated setup and of course the panoramic view. The attention to detail has transformed this place into an upper scale restaurant. My first experience there confirmed once again how important first impressions count.
First impressions are important whether in a business or in a personal relationship. In a professional world, they can either enhance or detract the overall impression people have of your business. Below are some of the elements that can make or break your business with first time comers.
Signages are considered as everything that directs the location. It is the indication. It is what customers see from the roadside even before entering the premises. Signs are one of the most important parts of any business’ successful marketing campaign. Make sure what people see on the signs ‘pull’ them to come and discover because they can create good and memorable first impressions with customers.
Cleanliness and set up
Streaks on the windows, cobweb in the corner, stained walls, burned-out bulbs, an old bottle of soft drink on your desk, a dead insect under your desk or a bit of debris on the floor might seem minor, but they can create a negative impression in the customer’s mind.
Remember that every single customer who walks into your shop evaluate subconsciously your company through what they see.
Needless to say that many people simply lack creativity when it comes to decorating their premises. You do not need to put the same paint or set up as the one next door. Think a bit outside the box and offer a unique décor.
Always pay attention to the washrooms your visitors use.
Wikipedia describes a uniform as a set of standard clothing worn by members of an organisation while participating in that organisation’s activity. No matter the sector of your business, the way your staff is dressed says a lot about your organisation.
At the Panoramic Restaurant, the staff was dressed with great taste. The all-in-black staff looked smart right at the entrance and gave the impression of a chic restaurant.
Remember that uniforms are a great corporate branding material as they also serve for projecting competence. They prevent your staff from wearing indecent or unprofessional attire. Give your staff nametags as this makes communication and identification easier.
Company’s marketing collateral
These are documents such as business cards, flyers or brochures; they have an important role to market our company. At the Panoramic Restaurant, their beautifully designed black menu will make your mouth water.
As a business owner, make sure you pay attention to your marketing collateral. The design and layout should be visually appealing so as to invite the reader to go further with your company.
An example is a business card. It is one of the simplest, yet very effective ways to spread a positive first impression on your business. It’s well worth an investment, especially the design and quality of paper.
Whether you have a new or an old business, it is important you impress each customer who enters your business for the first time. Improve the first impression so that you can turn your clients into loyal customers who will then become ‘advertising agents’ of your company.
The author is a customer service consultant and the publisher of