I’m currently on the verge of moving house, which is one of life’s most stressful events, apparently. Whoever put that list together* has clearly never experienced Frankie & Benny’s on a Saturday afternoon, but I digress.
In preparation for the move, I have spent countless hours browsing the web for all manor of things with which I plan to fill said house; in this case, a new bed.
The process has been an eye opening one, both in terms of the quality of the websites I’ve had the pleasure or displeasure of visiting, and the varying levels of support I’ve received as a result of numerous enquiries. There are literally hundreds of retailers out there who could likely fulfil my bed needs (stop it), however, as we know, making a decision about which retailer to use rarely comes down to stock availability alone, or even price for that matter. What this experience has reaffirmed to me is the importance of making a good first impression.
The swatch off
Having looked at what feels like a thousand different beds, the list of companies I felt best suited my needs was narrowed down to 2. For the purpose of this post, I’ll refer to them as the creatively named Company 1 and Company 2.
Both of these companies started the day on a level playing field; similar product offering, similar pricing, and websites which, although different, both do their job well enough. Crucially though, I had no prior experience shopping with either company, and therefore no real expectations. I went about ordering some sample fabric swatches from each company, and this is where it got interesting.
Company 1 – the swatches arrived in a nondescript envelope, creased, and looking slightly worse for wear. No follow up email.
Company 2 – the swatches themselves were as good as a 4 inch square of fabric can be, I guess, but arrived with: a complimentary sachet of hot chocolate; a small book, no more than 10 pages, which gives a great insight into the brand and the lifestyle they want their customers to buy into; and all of this in a nice branded box. This was followed up by a friendly email from an actual person.
The point is Company 2 made a good first impression, and has likely won my custom as a result. Company 1 did what I needed it to do (delivered a bunch of swatches), but fell way short on ‘above and beyond’ factor, if such a thing even exists.
Beds aside, selling anything online is super competitive, which is why making a good first impression is so important. When such an opportunity presents itself, on- or off-line, brands should take full advantage, or they risk losing out to a competitor who will.
*It was Holmes & Rahe that put that list together – http://www.stress.org/holmes-rahe-stress-inventory/