Thursday, April 19, 2007

First impressions: The real estate customer experience

The customer experience relates to all kinds of businesses. I usually write about specific bricks-and-mortar sites. But what about short-term, temporary experiences? How can they be improved?

Real estate is one example where first impressions are absolutely critical, hence the term "curb appeal." While a great deal of energy is devoted to making the front of the house look appealing, what about the realtor's sign itself? Is that part of the impression? Should it be? Take a look at each picture and see if it makes you feel more or less likely to want to see the house.

Well, having this one behind bars certainly isn't appealing.

This one doesn't read very clearly, and the hand-done numbering doesn't look as professional as it could.

The realtor's information on top doesn't look integrated (either by color or type style) with the Century 21 look.

This is clean and professional.

More upscale, but a little hard to read.

Even the color of the post is integrated with their sign, and their friendly faces are also appealing.

Tip of the day: Details count. Consider every aspect of your first impression, as you may only get one chance.

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  1. You should see this guy's sugns...

  2. I appreciate your thoughts on signage. It's one of my lil' "hobbies". I've been reading you for a while, and finally have a moment so...

    These are mostly problem solving issues. Corporate signage created en masse fails to address variances. Often end-users are not given (or trusted with) the raw tools to problem solve with. Few employees have experience problem solving with signage.

    Elizabeth and Sally's sign is the most congruent, but was positioned so that you cannot see it until you are right on it. This could be based on the site and the limitations of the area (impeding sidewalk traffic)...

    That said- you can often tell if someone was thoughtful and did the best job that they could. That undercurrent speaks volumes about attention to detail, and I do think that customers pick up on this.

    Just an FYI: If automobile traffic is important, some cities (but certainly not all) have info on their website - if you search your city name and "traffic count information" you will see if they do. Direction of traffic and volume, time of day, etc can be found. This can be really helpful.

    On another note of problem solving with signs, I love when you see a mega-company like Disney have to throw up temporary signage to cover an issue because they did not forsee human behavior. This happens so seldom, they are so studied in their approach! I have done online research on Disney signs, and found one such instance. It's instructive what they dashed out on 8 1/2 X 11 paper.

    It said:

    "HALT! DO NOT ENTER! Only TEAMS with faith, trust and Mickey dust allowed past this point."

    Rules and lightheartedness. Together at last...

  3. beachamptons6:09 PM

    I'm with you. It's embarassing to see all the sloggy signs out there. Riders falling off, handwritten riders, glued on additions.
    It's time for a change and i intend to lead the way!

  4. It seems a lot of realtors are going for lots of color and bigger is better. I am doing a redesign for my signs and I am thinking of going 12 by 18 for sign size with a bold but easy to read look in black and white. My bet is that simplification is better.