A First Impression Can Make Or Break Any Customer Relationship
By Debbie Bermont President, Source Communications | January 14, 2010
Unfortunately, with all the branding efforts towards educating the mass market on good service, you now have to deliver exceptional service on a consistent basis or you will fall short of the customer's expectations.
The first point of contact with your company sets the tone for your future relationship with a prospect. You only get one shot at making a positive impact on that person with an exceptional first impression. If you lose them in that first moment, you might have damaged the possibility of even making the first sale - let alone getting customer loyalty.
The only way you can develop and strengthen a relationship is through a first positive impression followed up with constant care, attention and nurturing. Every connection you make with the same individual adds to the experience of the relationship. In business all it takes is one negative person in your company to have an unpleasant experience with a customer and all the good has been wasted. If you start off on the right foot with an exceptionally positive first impression, you have to follow up with more exceptional connections to make the relationship strong.
Most likely the initial contact with your company is going to be by phone, mail or through your website.
When the first connection is an incoming phone call from another person you want to leave the caller with a good first impression so they have a desire to call your hotel again. Proper phone etiquette is the most obvious way to leave a good first impression. Unfortunately it's not uncommon to call a company and get a person on the other end of the line who sounds hassled, frustrated, bored or apathetic. Obviously this doesn't leave a good first impression.
This is the age of automation where companies use phone features such as auto attendants, voice mail, call waiting and placing someone on hold. While each of these features is meant to improve communications, they also can lead to frustration for the caller. We have entered an era where people have very little patience. They expect answers immediately. If someone goes out of their way to connect with your company by phone, they will appreciate an immediate courteous response on the other end of the line.