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Making a Great First Impression with Your Customers

Kevin Stirtz

How to increase customer loyalty by making a great first impression.

The fastest way to increase customer loyalty is by improving the quality of customer service you deliver. In fact, I dislike thinking of it as "customer service". I prefer calling it "Remarkable Service". When you take care of your customers so well they tell others, then you've delivered remarkable service. When you do that consistently, with every customer, every time, then you'll see customer loyalty, retention and referrals go straight through the roof.

Remarkable Service starts with the first impression your customers have of your business. We've all heard the old saying, "first impressions are the most important" but many of us have also forgotten how valid it is. So, here's a way to help remember.

A new customer will develop an impression about your employee (and your business) in their first seven seconds with your employee. In that slice of time, they will judge your employee in eleven different ways, all of which affect how likely they will be to do business with you. The eleven ways we are judged are:

  • Cleanliness

  • Knowledge

  • Professionalism

  • Friendliness

  • Helpfulness

  • Courtesy

  • Credibility

  • Confidence

  • Attractiveness

  • Responsiveness

  • Understanding

(Not necessarily in this order.)

The outcome of these judgments is important. Our customers will roll these judgments into one opinion of our business which will determine how likely they are to become a new customer or a repeat customer. The decision they make is one of these three conclusions:

1. They like our employee (and company).
2. They dislike our employee (and company).
3. They are indifferent.

Two of these conclusions are death to our business. Obviously dislike is bad. But, in the long run, so is indifference. An indifferent customer is a temporary customer. They are with you only until something better comes along. They're not loyal, long-term customers.

So, as you work with your employees to improve your customer service, remember to focus on delivering Remarkable Service. And, remember, the first step in delivering Remarkable Service is by making a great first impression.
Image Credit: Monkeybusinessimages / Getty Images
Kevin Stirtz