Auto Service World
Feature   July 10, 2013   by CARS Magazine

The importance of last impressions

A Quebec business consultant says a good transaction should be like a fireworks display with the best stuff at the end!

A good fireworks display typically ends with a flurry of flashes and booms that leaves a lasting impression on the audience.

Jasmin Bergeron thinks business owners would be wise to employ the same strategy when dealing with customers.

Speaking at the recent Autopro convention in Niagara Falls, Ont., the Quebec-based business consultant and marketing professor said final impressions are arguably more important than first impressions.

“Our assessment of what we experience is based on what we experience last,” he said, “not what happened at the beginning.”

Bergeron said not only does it follow the show biz axiom, “Leave them wanting more,” but it creates an indelible impression that colours our perception of the whole show.

If fireworks ended with a fizzle instead of a crescendo of light and sound people would be disappointed, he said.

“You’d walk away going, ‘Seriously! What was that?!’” said Bergeron. “The last impression with a client or employee is 10 times more important than the first impression.”

He offered a few pointers to help shops creating lasting impressions with clients.

1. Ask them.

Many shopkeepers will ask their customers if they were satisfied with the service, but Bergeron suggested taking it one-step further. Ask them what they liked most.

“Make them say it! When your customer is happy with the service, say, ‘Really? Out of curiosity, what did you like about the service?’” he suggested. “If they say it out loud, they’ll believe it more and they’ll talk about it more.”

2. Congratulate them.

Tell them how smart they are to be taking such good care of their cars.

“Is always repairing their car on time worth congratulating? Of course it is!” he said. “At the end, say, “By the way, you’re taking such great care of your car and you should be proud of yourself because most people only come in when they have trouble. This is really brilliant of you.”

He pointed out that anyone who wants to double the impact of their compliments in their personal and your professional life should add a “because” at the end.

“When you compliment your employees, instead of just saying, ‘Thank you for their hard work,’ try saying something like, ‘Thank you, because I saw you come in early this morning to take care of that client. I really appreciate it.’ That compliment has more impact.”


3. Alleviate their doubts.

He said it is typical human behaviour to second-guess themselves after a big purchase.

“More than 90% of clients will ask themselves if they got the best price, the best part, if they really needed the work, or if they should have just hung on to the car the way it was,” he said. “We’ve even found that many clients continued shopping after the repair was done, because they want to lower the feeling of doubt they feel. You need to reassure them of the wisdom of their purchase. Tell them they did the right thing for their car.”


4. Introduce them to a colleague

“This is a trend that we see in the retail business all over Canada,” he said. “Take a moment to introduce the client to a colleague or to the boss. Brag about them.”

He said this makes people feel important and appreciated.

5. Don’t be all business

“Finish with friendly and pleasant stuff – no auto parts stuff,” he said. “If they’re going to play golf, wish them good luck. If they’re going on a trip, tell them to have a great trip.”

He said it is important to show that you are interested in more than their money.

6. Use their name

“Instead of saying, ‘Have a great day,’ say, ‘Have a great day, Joe. It was nice seeing you.’ Even in emails, use their name. You rarely see the use of names in emails. But instead of just giving your best regards, say, ‘Have a great day, Mr. Johnson.’

Psychology studies have shown that the name that people like to hear the most is their own.

“If you don’t agree, try to call your spouse by a different name!” he quipped. “You will see that their name is very, very important!”

7. Walk them out

“This is another trend we see in retail business,” he said. “We should see our clients as guests, and you when you have a guest in your home you always walk them to the door and chit-chat a bit.”


Small gestures make big impressions, he said. And leaving the best impressions for after the transaction leaves people with a good feeling as they leave.

It’s an important step to making sure they come back to you next time.


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