The Unusual Impression


In my last post I wrote about the importance for any business of the first and last impressions a customer receives. I mentioned that we are wired to remember first, last and unusual or uniqueness.


In this post I want to turn our attention to the unusual or unique messages that your customers receive. If the unusual impression is an argument or unresolved issue you can bet the farm that it will be remembered long after any positive interaction or event. Plus, they will tell their friends. Negative unusual impressions can become a firestorm.

Here are some unusual impressions, all of which were told to me by someone else:

  • There’s the couple who visited a church for the first time and a few minutes after they sat down, a couple came up and said, “You are in our seats,” and asked them to move. They received the “new person in town” mailing from this church nine months after that first (and only) Sunday they attended.

  • There’s the man who visited a local store looking for a particular basic item. When he could not find it, he asked an associate for help. The associate pointed him to another store saying, “You should really shop for those items in that store, they have so much better selection than we do.”

There’s also some good, solid impressions that bring people back again and again, and they tell their friends about those as well.

  • There is the store employee, who when something seemed impossible, he asked his manager for approval to do something extraordinary and out of the box for the customer. The manager agreed and his extra effort got the customer exactly what they needed.

  • There is an owner of a local restaurant who remembers our names and our typical order. He goes out of his way to greet us, find out what we’re doing and serve great food as well.

Unusual impression go beyond just customer service issues. If the most unique experience your customer has is untidy shelves, blocked aisle ways, out-of-stock merchandise, or unfulfilled promises and restrictive return’s policies, this will be long remembered.

  • Look at your displays and feature tables. Are they extraordinary? Themed? Cross Merchandised? Or just stacks of stuff?
  • Make sure you and your employees are connected on a vision to give extraordinary service, not just make it easy for them or restrictive.

Get creative! Do extraordinarily positive, unusual things for your customer and they will not only remember it, they will be your best advertising and sales force.


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Trust is the winsome wedding of faith and hope.

Brennan Manning

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