The Last Impression Counts Just as Much as the First… If Not More

The Last Impression Leaves an Indelible Feeling
The Last Impression Leaves an Indelible Feeling

In the customer experience field, we all pay a lot of attention to the first impression we make with customers. 

“You Never Get a Second Chance to Make a First Impression” – We all know this saying and drum it into the minds of our teams.

But – what about the last impression?

This really struck home with me this morning as I dropped my daughter off at the bus stop before school.

We had had a wonderful morning.  She woke up on time with her alarm, got dressed, and went downstairs humming a cheerful little song.

Since it snowed a little this morning, I decided to make it an extra special last day before winter break and turned on the fireplace and we ate breakfast in the family room by the Christmas tree and just took our time and chatted.

As we drove up to the bus stop, we talked about some of the fun things we have planned as a family for winter break and what she can do with her friends.  Once we reached the bus stop we waited for the bus to come.  As the bus was approaching, she panicked and remembered that she needed to put her lunch box in her back pack and was doing that as the bus came to a stop.  When she finished, I unlocked the door for her and leaned in for my goodbye kiss and……  That’s where the magic stopped.

She was  frustrated as the bus was now loading kids on and was worried it would leave without her.  A goodbye kiss was simply not on her list of priorities at that moment.  She got out of the car and headed for the bus and got right on with barely a glance back to me.

I sat there for a moment feeling a bit defeated.   I questioned why this bothered me so much since we’d had such a fantastic morning.  Seriously, the morning could not have gone better if I’d planned it right up until that last 90 seconds, and that’s the part that bothered me.

Now, I’ll get over it.  I know she’s 9 years old and didn’t mean anything by it and I know we’ll be fine when she comes home from school today.  But it got me thinking about the way that we leave our customers.  Now, I don’t think there are many businesses that would go so far as to kiss the customers goodbye, but how much attention to you pay to the way that you say goodbye to your customers or consider what happens at the last touch point with them?  You need to be sure to thank them, to look them in the eye, to smile, to do something that signifies a connection of some sort.  For my daughter, it would have been the quick kiss on the cheek goodbye.  For a client or customer, it’s a sincere handshake, a “Thanks for coming in today.”, you get the idea.

Yes, the first impression is extremely important.  But always remember that the lasting impression the customer has of your business or the last person that worked with them is just as important, if not more so.  The last impression lingers far longer than the first.

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