Written by Daniel Latto in Latest News

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December 31, 2013

As a consultant on the customer service experience, I have a very simple question for you.

Who’s the first and last person who interacts with your customers and prospects when they’re on your premises, on the phone, or making an initial general email inquiry ?

Whoever this is, and regardless of title (receptionist, office manager, host, dude-wh0-sits-near-the-door), how carefully did you:

…vet this person when hired?

…train this person, before you foisted her or him on unsuspecting customers?  (The Ritz-Carlton, for example, has a philosophy that employees should never practice on guests. But this is an extremely rare approach.)

… supervise this person?

And:

• Is this position a quickie stepping stone, or, worse, a throwaway position? Or do you allow employees to settle into this position, grow with it, make it something they can be proud of?

I suggest that you consider how utterly crucial this position is.  (Rename it, for starters:  How about calling it “Director of First And Last Impressions” and meaning it?) I’ve written elsewhere about how science shows the huge influence that first and last impressions will have on your customer’s overall evaluation of you. Truly, these moments can make all the difference in your brand image.

Greeted with genuine caring and courtesy, a customer will forgive later minor problems, and will be more pleased with your later successes. Start off your customer’s visit with a good feeling, and the rest of their time with you is so much more likely to feel good to them, too.

And a caring farewell has the power to soothe a customer’s lingering concerns, and can transform a fairly positive experience (“Most things were pretty good”) into a wonderful memory (“Everything was just perfect!”).

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