Financial Data
Updated 20 Jul 2018

Your first impression shouldn’t be your last

How do customers view their experience with you?

Basil O’Hagan, Entrepreneur, 09 August 2017  Share  0 comments  Print

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Moments of truth

We’ve spoken about the importance of a good first impression, as well as of a sincere greeting when you say goodbye. What these have in common is that they’re “moments of truth” – points where you interact directly with your customer, when you can directly affect their experience of your business during the cycle of service.

These are times when a customer gets a chance to form either a good or a bad impression about the service quality in your business. Millions of “moments of truth” happen in customer service every day, but the successful businesses register the best impressions.

You’re not in direct contact with your customer at all times. That only happens at particular occasions – all the more reason to make those moments count. The moment of truth is an opportunity to impact on the customer’s experience.

Related: Personal branding: Don’t underestimate the power of your first impressions

The moment of truth will vary according to your industry. But let’s take the last time I took my Peugeot in for a service. This was the process:

  1. I phone to make a booking.
  2. Confirmation of my booking by SMS.
  3. Two days before my appointment – reminder of booking.
  4. I bring my car in for the service.
  5. Phone call advising me the car is ready – I fetch the car.
  6. Five days later – a short telephone survey of three or four questions asking about my experience.

Each of these interactions is a moment of truth, and Peugeot take the opportunity to make each of them special. Some of them are even quite a surprise – how many garages remind you about your appointment, for instance?

In your business, work out which are the moments of truth, when you touch base with your customer. Make those moments count, because that’s what’s going to stay with your customer after his transaction is done.

Service Tip: Customer contact is intermittent. There is a rhythm to it. Don’t force it, go with the flow of the experience. But when you do interact, make it special.

Moments of misery

While your contact moments with your customer are moments of truth, they can become moments of misery if you don’t make an effort.

Think of those places that you dread visiting because you know their customer service is poor or non-existent. Certain cellular service providers can be like this, as can government departments and bureaucracies in large companies.

This happens when there’s no customer-service training, no leadership and no morale in 

If you dread dealing with customers, and customers dread dealing with you, then you know you have a problem. It’s time to rebuild your entire customer service approach from the ground up.

Service Tip: When your customer experience includes some of the following, you know you are delivering Moments of Misery:

  • Financial loss to the customer
  • Customer in the dark about what’s happening
  • Customer feels your prices are high
  • Customer’s request not correctly understood
  • Not delivering on promises
  • Dealing with rude, untrained or scruffy staff
  • Errors in the bill
  • A long wait to hear back from you with a quote

Related: Make a distinctive impression with House of Janine 

Moments of magic

You can just as easily turn the moments of truth during your cycle of service into Moments of Magic. Do this by delivering on these classic elements of customer service:

  • Smile while you work
  • Greet your customers by name
  • Have sincere, human interactions
  • Look for opportunities to give world-class service
  • Know all the products and services you offer
  • Pay attention to your customers so you deliver on time
  • Take care to deliver on the finer service details
  • Thank your customers for their business
  • Follow up and provide after-sales service. 

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About the author

Basil O’Hagan, Entrepreneur

Basil O’Hagan is the founder of both O’Hagan’s and The Brazen Head. Today, he runs Basil O’Hagan Marketing, which serves chains, independent operations and small family businesses, pinpointing and overcoming problems through proven neighbourhood marketing solutions.

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