You probably heard the saying; “You only get one chance to make a lasting impression.” Most people and businesses realize the importance of how first and last impressions can affect the customer experience. Every time a customer has any contact with any aspect of your people or business, the customer forms an opinion. These opinions, whether good or bad, are formed in the first few seconds of any interaction. One of the most important actions any business can take initially is to acknowledge customers to make them feel welcome. This is the first opportunity to show that you care and appreciate their business.
I recently boarded a flight to travel to an upcoming speaking engagement. When I entered the plane, I noticed two flight attendants having their own personal conversation in the front pantry area of the entrance. Totally disregarding any of the passengers coming on board. No welcome greeting or sharing any pleasant remarks. We were ignored and certainly did not feel welcome or important. When departing the plane after landing, the same two flight attendants were engaged in a another personal conversation and again totally ignored passengers as we departed the plane. Two great opportunities to make a first lasting impression were wasted on their choice to ignore the passengers. It was very disappointing to see, particularly because this airline usually does a good job.
It may seem obvious, but business often do not remember that the objective is to create an experience worthy of sharing to tell others how welcome your business made us feel. Making every customer feel genuinely welcome is one of the most important responsibilities you or your organization can ever encounter. That is why you will find a greeter outside every Disney hotel or attraction in the parks. The greeter’s primary job is to welcome guests, direct them where to go, answer any questions and thank them for visiting. Although it may seem minor, their job is to create a positive first and last impression to set the tone and engage the customer in the experience. This is intentional.
Questions and Action to Take:
– How effectively are your efforts to communicate a positive welcome and closing greeting to your customers?
– Is every employee on board and responsible to intentionally create a first and last impression?
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– Take a look at every possible contact point that you have with a customer and ask yourself is it the best we can do?
Impressions and our ability to create them are one of the most powerful tools we have at our disposal. How well you serve your customers must be deliberate and intentional. Obviously the two flight attendants intentionally ignored us and lost an opportunity to show that they care. Just having a plaque on the wall of an organization’s mission statement, stamped in a company handbook or leaders preaching that our customers are most important is not enough. Being committed to take real action is the only way to have a lasting impression on your customers and business.
Walt Disney said it best; “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.” Disney and other excellent companies differentiate themselves by setting the expectations and having everyone in the organization take action and make it intentional. In most businesses, there are only a few opportunities that you have contact with a customer. Take advantage of every opportunity you have and make a great first and lasting impression on them. That is how the Customer Experience becomes MAGICAL!