How to Make an Exceptional First Impression

Businessman receiving text message

Jeff Mowatt looks at some surprisingly quick and simple ways to improve your response time to customer inquiries—and make an exceptional first impression.

Imagine you’re working late, visiting a website of a potential new supplier. Using the email form on the website, you send a short message that you’d like someone to contact you. Since it’s after hours, you hope to hear from them in the next business day or two. That’s typical.

Contrast that scenario to the practice used by one of my clients, Vice President of a commercial vehicle leasing business. Those after hour email inquiries (which might occur a handful of times per week) are fed directly to his cell phone. It takes him about two minutes after receiving that message to email back to the prospect stating that he’s received the inquiry and has assigned a certain team member to take care of them. That team member is copied on that email.

Pretty impressive, but there’s more.

The rep who’s been assigned to the potential customer then takes two minutes to reply to the prospect and let them know that they’ll phone them the next day and offer a time. As that potential customer, chances are you are now sitting up and taking notice of this company that’s obviously on the ball.

How hard is it for the company to make this exceptional first impression? It takes two minutes of two people’s time and no cash outlay! Some might object, “That’s cutting into the employee’s personal time.” That VP who takes the first emails told me. “Jeff, we give our employees their cell phone for free. If they don’t forward their business line and emails to their phone, I tell them to leave the phone at work when they leave the office.” Realistically, these emails only take 10 minutes per week of the rep’s after hours’ time. They get paid on commission, so everyone wins when they gain the new customer.

What about you and your organization? Is there room for improvement in your response time to customer inquiries?

About the Author

Jeff Mowatt is a customer service strategist, Hall of Fame speaker, and bestselling author. This article is based on Jeff’s bestselling book, Influence with Ease. You can obtain your own copy of his book or to inquire about engaging Jeff for your team at

Leave a Comment