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When does the all-important first impression really happen?

Published on September 12, 2013

One of the most overlooked resources for most organizations is the employee resource. Typically, organizations will try to maximize their return on investment by quantifying what is gained (cash flow) based on what resources are invested (capital). The problem is when the process becomes so mechanical that it begins to apply to the employee resource. When this happens, the organization can lose sight of potential gains it can realize. This is best illustrated by examining a business’ core product. Can its product be replicated by a competitor? In most cases, absolutely! Therefore, what differentiates many businesses in the marketplace is the touchpoint.

A touchpoint in business is any point of contact for a customer where that customer is engaged to exchange information, receive a service, or make a transaction. Therefore, a critical part of the process of marketing involves the control of the customer’s experience at EVERY touchpoint, and if marketing is to be effective, it must have the best personnel available at every one of these touchpoints.

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Many companies are putting a lot of effort in training their people so the customer experience is delivered as intended. The marketing process relies heavily on this crucial component. The first part of this process is attracting the best people who will give your customers the best experience. The company must first ask if people want to work here. There are many examples of companies who cannot attract the top performers in the workplace simply because of their perception by potential candidates. This perception is built over time by managerial decisions. Was (or is) the employee experience positive notwithstanding any single instance, but the cumulative perception of the organization by employees? This is critical because if the organization cannot attract the best candidates, it has to expense more costly resources to make up the difference. In some extreme cases, even those resources will simply not be enough.

The individual candidate has a choice now and in the future. Do the best want to be a part of your company? It is critical for management to thoroughly review the process of candidate attraction. What is the applicant experiencing? Sadly, today’s market demands have made that process cold and extremely impersonal. However, the individual on the other end is very much a living person. As much as the company and the applicant may worry about the first impression (should that occurrence happen), the reality is that first impression has already happened.

Although understanding the company’s candidate attraction and initial engagement process may not be directly quantifiable in terms of profitability, it definitely has both a short- and long-term affect on any company’s bottom line.