Most of what you can read about creating a positive first impression on the phone is true for the face to face role too. However, there are more components to be aware of when the customer or visitor is physically in front of you. To get the basics, check out this post:

coloured speech bubblesFor a start, it doesn’t matter if you are the person responsible for greeting visitors or not. If you are present – even lurking in the background at reception for example – you should contribute to the positive first impression of your business. Visitors notice a lot and you often don’t know who they are until you greet them. So treat everyone well. Here are some initial things to think about if you are present when a visitor comes into your office:

  • Smile at them
  • Offer to help them – who are they here to see, etc?
  • Acknowledge them, even if you are on the phone, show them that you have noticed them and that you will be with them shortly
  • Avoid swearing or getting mad at someone or something
  • Stop your conversation to acknowledge the person
  • If you are about to leave or take a break, this is no excuse for totally ignoring someone – it takes little effort to smile and acknowledge someone as you are leaving.

Two FacesIf your role is to actually greet someone, then you can take things further. Consider all that we have discussed about the phone based interaction. It all counts:

  • Smile
  • Be present and focus
  • Give a positive affirmation
  • Have a can-do attitude
  • Use positive language
  • Have a positive attitude
  • Listen carefully

What if you’re on the phone already and someone comes in?

If you are on the phone with someone else or talking with another person, you don’t have to finish the call but you can cover the phone, look up and in a quiet voice say, “I will be with you very shortly”. That’s all that is needed.

What if you are talking with someone and the phone rings?

If you are with someone at reception talking with them and the phone goes, it is rude in that instance to interrupt the current conversation and take the call. Unless it’s absolutely imperative that you take every single call, don’t take it while you are engaged with someone already. If you must, then politely excuse yourself and give a reason why you must take a call so the person understands. Unless you can deal with the call right there and then, why take it? It’s a bit like answering your phone while you’re in a meeting and then telling the caller you can’t speak with then because you’re in a meeting – just turn it off!

Improve loyalty

If you’re on the phone or in a face to face situation and have a customer or visitor, do all you can to help them feel like you are pleased to be speaking with them. Customers will be more forgiving, more willing to handle mess ups, more likely to stay loyal when they feel important and like they are welcome.

You can check out more ideas for Positive First Impressions at and