How good are you at impressions?

How long do you have to make an impression on someone that could last a lifetime? 10 seconds? A minute?

First impressions are generally formed in around 7 to 30 seconds, however a study by Princeton psychologists found they can be made in as little as 1/10 of a second.

This has never been more relevant in the age of the “well-advised consumer”. Mobiles and computers have empowered us with information at our fingertips, allowing us to carry out research at any moment. This means a customer might have already formed an opinion about a high street retailer before they’ve even taken a step inside their physical location. On the mobile customer journey, Google has coined these critical touchpoints “Micro Moments”, which, when added together, have a serious impact on the outcome of that journey. For example, 53% of site visits are abandoned if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load and for every additional second delay in site load time, conversions fall by 12%. With so many communication touchpoints, never before has giving a good first impression been so important – yet so many brands seem to get it wrong.

I was made acutely aware of this yesterday when I was stuck behind a stationary builder’s van on a narrow road for 5 minutes. They didn’t attempt to edge forward, speed up or even apologise while they finished dropping off some materials at a house, simply giving a cursory wave as they drove off. It might not have been conscious, but it told me everything I needed to know about that company’s brand in terms of how they treat others. That’s because the vast majority (70%) of buying experiences are now based on how people feel they are being treated, rather than what the company is actually offering. The customer experience starts as soon as you find out about or come into contact with a business, so colleagues at every level need to be living the brand values whenever they’re representing the company.

And it’s not just theoretical; it has a direct impact on the bottom line. According to research carried out by Zendesk, 24% of people continue to seek out vendors for two or more years after good experiences, whereas 79% of high income households are likely to take their money elsewhere permanently after a bad one.

Customers are increasingly sharing opinions and reviews, so improving your customer experience is the best way to drive loyalty by giving customers what they want. Especially as it takes twelve positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative one – and most people just won’t give you that opportunity.

When did you last review your customer journey to look for pain points and potential moments of truth or delight? How about experiencing the journey yourself as a customer to see if your employees are delivering your brand values? At Brand Biology, we help organisations define their branded customer experience. If you want to find out how we can make sure your colleagues are giving the best first impression, just get in touch by emailing