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The importance of making a good first impression

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eric goldingThe author of this postEric Golding, is a qualified accountant and Managing Director of Stanley Davis Practice Support Services Limited. Eric says about himself: “I work with practising firms of Solicitors and Accountants, drawing on my experience as a Chartered Accountant in practice for more than twenty years and as a result, I am very much aware of how a practice operates and the problems faced by practitioners.” Ben

A very well known American lyricist, Carolyn Leigh, wrote a song called First Impression in which she wrote “never trust in a first impression”. (Look up her biography as she wrote many well known quality standards.)

However, Professional firms must ignore her pleading as there is never a second chance to create a first impression. When phoning a firm for the first time, being put on hold while a computer voice tells you “your call is important to us, please wait” is not a good start. If you really value calls, answer them promptly by having an alternative where the system automatically diverts to another extension. A premium rate owner will receive more money by being inefficient and requires careful investigation before placing business with that firm.

Additionally, if an email is received with an enquiry which is likely to be or could be new business, ensure it is responded to promptly. Do not wait for days or even a week or more before replying. The sender will believe you do not care.

The customer experience is paramount and is more than using the best cups and saucers. Do not be impatient and constantly look at your watch, especially if the first meeting is free of charge.

The first meeting, having passed my test referred to above, is an opportunity to impress the client or potential client, so use it.

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2 thoughts on “The importance of making a good first impression

  • June 10, 2016 at 6:43 am

    How very true Eric. Although this is a basic principle, it is amazing how often it is neglected or forgotten due to the demands of work. The role of support staff in creating a good first impression (and building relationships after first contact) with clients is as important as the lawyers role in doing the same, and we have all heard examples of how it is done extremely well, and badly.

  • MaryWhite
    June 16, 2016 at 9:33 am

    Good point, Eric; first impressions are very difficult to undo and being welcoming and courteous (and having nice china) is only a part of what clients need to see: as law firms, inspiring confidence and showing professionalism at the introductory stage is really vital too. I would also suggest that making a clear impression of good time-keeping is important too (as the example you set might just reflect back when you expect the client to give instructions with adequate time, or to pay fees when they are due…!!).


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