They say that your first impression is important. How you dress, your handshake, the impact you make when you first meet someone all has a critical impact on whether people will do business with you.
And I buy it.
The impact we make on potential customers, colleagues, and contacts when we first engage with them, as well as the impression they immediately form of you, is tough to change once set, so it’s vital you get it right.
But I wondered recently whether, with existing customers and contacts, it was your last impression that mattered more?
I was thinking about a recent experience with a supplier. It was the first time we’d used the company and we had been impressed at the start; they’d made a good first impression. We chose them to do the job for us.
During the project we’ve found them to be professional, a good source of advice and guidance, and they made sure that we got the best solution, not just taking our original spec but making sure it was as good a result as possible.
But, 4 or 5 weeks after completion of the project, there’s still a few snags. A few things aren’t quite working as they should. They don’t make the whole thing bad, but it’s not quite finished and it’s frustrating. I doubt this is an uncommon experience.
So, if someone asks me whether I recommend the company to them, what will I say? I’ll say that I would, but I’ll most likely caveat it with a ‘make sure you’ or ‘we had a few issues with…’.
Another situation that comes to mind is a common frustration in restaurants, when – having just had a great meal – trying to get the waiter or waitress’s attention to get and pay the bill can be hugely frustrating.
Project this situation onto your own business; what do your customers feel when you finish a project with them? Is your handover and snagging process strong, so that your customer feels the same sense of impact at the end of the project as they do at the start?
Why does this matter from a marketing perspective?
As we talk to businesses, one of the most important questions we ask is, where do you get most of your leads from? The answer, in the majority of cases is from referrals or ‘word of mouth’. Do you want your referrals to be caveated, or just a sraight recommendation.
For us, that tells us just how important people’s last impression is. The better your last(ing) impression is, the more likely you are to get referrals and grow your business.
How do you ensure your last impression is a good one?