first impression

Preparing to transition my home office to a new and smaller space, I’ve recently purchased a few pieces of equipment. This morning I was notified one piece had shipped. It was a pleasant surprise to find this email in my InBox, signed by the company co-owner.

Your (product description) has just completed the white glove packaging ceremony. Our 12 person inspection team gave their final approval, and our in house Tibetan monk blessed eternal happiness to its owner as we all waved goodbye to the mailman speedily bringing it to your doorstep.

Countless people have been involved in the design, sourcing the raw materials, manufacturing, packaging, shipping, marketing, and support of this product. If it doesn’t live up to your highest hopes let us know, and once we stop crying, we will make sure you are 100% satisfied. 

The message is the perfect blend of humor and humility and made a great first impression. What a brilliant tactic! In one swoop, the company infused good will into our new business relationship and elevated a mundane transaction to memorable. I couldn’t help but smile. I’m primed to love this product and this company, monk or no monk.

When I was a teenager I worked at a small drugstore with a regional chain. I learned quickly and early that “the customer is always right.” There were no exceptions. Every complaint or concern was addressed with this mindset. That was smart business, most especially when every transaction was face-to-face with a member of the local community.

In the intervening decades of faceless online merchandising, it seems the customer-always-right premise is negotiable and relationship often neglected. This morning’s email was a reminder that a customer orientation still works wonders. It’s also a great reminder of the importance of a first impression: we only make one. Smart people won’t underestimate how much they matter!

~ René Morley

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