Last night, I had a beer with my friend Nick Francis (CEO of HelpScout) when he said the quote above. We were talking about one of our favorite activities, go kart racing. The F1 karting track near Boston left us wanting more from the experience. It started with an annoying process of filling out paperwork and waiting for our group to be put on the track (often an hour wait even with nobody on the track). After our third or fourth visit, we were expecting a better process. We had purchased racing licenses and were spending money on each race. But, when we left the track, we didn’t feel special, we were left with a bad last impression. And we did not want to go back.
Another example of this is the cruise industry. When I get on a cruise ship, there’s a great first impression with music and free champagne. But when I am disembarking, they hand me a bill for the week’s charges, and assign me to a waiting area until unloading time. After sitting around waiting to get off the ship, I trudge single-file through customs and immigration, and all this at 7am. Again, it leaves me with a bad last impression.
So what businesses leave you with a great last impression? In my opinion, there is one company doing this right: Uber. Getting an Uber car is easy with the mobile app, but the magic is really when I arrive at my destination. I smile knowing I don’t have to pull out my wallet. I get out of a luxurious black car, curb-side. I feel like a million bucks when I use Uber. It is a fantastic last impression and I look forward to using it again.
Consider the last impression you leave your customers. The business world is over-optimized for first impressions, because of the old adage ”you do not get a second chance at a first impression.” But, if your customer’s last interaction with your business is not also excellent, they will not be coming back. Nick is right, first impressions are overrated, leave your customers with a great last impression.