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August, 2001

Last Impressions

by Craig Harrison


We all know the importance of first impressions. From a young age we're told we never have a second chance to make a good first impression, and that impressions can be easy to make and harder to change.

But what about the power of last impressions? According to customer service trainer Craig Harrison, "in customer service, it is often the last impression that leaves the aftertaste. What taste are you leaving in your customers' mouths?"

Harrison tells clients: "Make sure your last impression is sweet!  Find ways to leave your customers feeling valued, cared for and happy to have patronized you. Strive to leave them with smiles on their faces."  So often we conclude transactions without thanking customers for their business. Other times we neglect to insure they are happy with their purchases or services rendered, whether they were the primary focus or simply accompanied their purchases.

You have the power to insure the last interchange between you and your customers is a positive one.  It may require a follow up postcard or phone call, but isn't it worth confirming so that you know that you've successfully met or exceeded your customer's expectations? 

Since we know from research that many unhappy customers never take the time to let us know we didn't meet their expectations, it behooves us to confirm we satisfied our customers. If your customer's last impression in any given transaction isn't favorable it may literally be our last transaction with them.  Make sure your relationships are lasting ones, by making your last impressions favorable.

Questions you might ask, in person, via the phone or through e-mail or US Mail:

Is there anything else we can do for you today, Mr. George?

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you today Ms. Winton. Please come back soon.

Was everything satisfactory with your transaction today Ms. Wong?

It's always a pleasure to serve you Mr. Jones. We look forward to helping you again soon.

For future reference, is there anything else we can do to serve you better?

We're so glad to be a part of your success Mr. Huntington. Thank you for the opportunity to help you.

Are there additional ways we can help you succeed? We'd like the opportunity to do more for you.

Is there any one thing we can change in our relationship to better serve your needs?

When you manage your last impressions successfully you'll be first in mind when customers. Make sure your last impressions are favorable, and your relationships can last a lifetime.

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