We first heard of the 7%-38%-55% rule, or the 3Vs, in 1971 when Albert Mehrabian published his theory about the impact of how we communicate (verbally, vocally and visually) in his book ‘Silent Messages’. Whilst his theory has been challenged many times, the principal that people rely on the way you look in order to form an impression of you (the 55%) has generally been accepted as at least close to the mark.
So for companies that have a carefully cultivated brand, what message do visitors to your building get about your company and brand from the first people they meet – the front of house team?
Ana Canabarro, training manager at MITIE Client Services discusses how we can consistently make a great first impression.
“The front of house team are the first people that visitors see and meet when entering a company’s building, and the impression made at that point can set the tone for the rest of the experience they will have during their visit.
“It’s essential that the team represent the image of the individual company. It’s not just about giving great customer service, people develop opinions based on a person’s presentation and that comes down to good grooming. As part of our core training, our people attend a ‘Personal Impact’ course that we run in conjunction with Clarins. It’s a fun, pampering, yet informative day where we discuss how to make the best possible first impression. “The training starts with an exercise in first impressions and that really sets the scene for the rest of the day. They go onto receive lots of advice about how to bring out the best of themselves. For men, that involves tips about skincare, shaving and hairstyles, and while the men are learning about shaving, the ladies enjoy a makeover and learn the best techniques to bring out their natural beauty using makeup.
“The techniques they learn can be applied regardless of the client that they work for; whether it’s a relaxed media environment, or a very smart bank; it’s about looking your personal best at all times.
“I think the most important lesson of the course is the realisation of how much control we have over the impression we make on people. It’s not something we generally think about too much, but we have control over our facial expressions, how we dress, and how we put ourselves together. We’re constantly sending messages, and by having messy hair or chipped nail polish, we easily allow guests and visitors to create an assumed characterisation of ourselves and therefore the company that we represent.
“We have just a moment to make a great impression on behalf our clients, so for us this isn’t just a ‘nice to have’, it’s an essential part of our offer.”
Ana Canabarro is a senior operations manager at MITIE Client Services. Follow Ana on Twitter
To find out more about how we can help your front of house service, get in touch today.