Wednesday, October 03, 2007

First Impressions

My blog on Monday prompted several emails. One was from the young lady pictured here (she also left a comment) who happens to work for the same restaurant chain in another state. She quickly defended the company she works for. And she is very correct in her comment that I should not judge the restaurant because of one bad experience or one waiter who is having a bad night.

I think there are at least a couple of lessons here.

The first is it really is not fair to judge a person or who they represent on your first impression. The person you meet could be having a bad day or a bad week or he could’ve just had a root canal 30 minutes earlier where they couldn’t get the tooth numb. But whether it is fair or not, we all do it anyway. And whether we realize it or not, we only have one shot at making a good first impression.

Take it from someone who is up to his neck in the service industry. First impressions can make you or break you. They can result in you getting a job or not getting a job. They can result in you getting a sale or not getting a sale. They can result in you keeping a customer for the company you work for or losing a customer for them. We get second and third chances at many things. But we do not get second or third chances at first impressions.

On the other hand, the second lesson is we really do need to give folks a break. There is no doubt we miss out on some great folks and great relationships and great companies to do business with because one person who didn’t have it together negatively influenced us the first time we met them. Although we can’t give them another shot at a first impression, it would no doubt be a good thing to give them a shot at a second impression. And maybe even a third.

I don’t suppose I made a very good first impression on the bellman I threw my keys to at the hotel the other night when I drove up and was dashing to the men’s room. Maybe he’ll give me another shot.

So the bottom line is Lindy is exactly right. The last thing I want to do is to be so hardheaded that I quit eating at my favorite restaurant. One bad waiter does not even compare to the best chicken tenders I have ever put in my mouth. Those suckers will literally melt in your mouth. And nothing compares to that wonderful salad with the hot bacon and honey mustard dressing.

The restaurant, in case you are wondering, is Houston’s. And I have provided you a picture of one of their employees in Los Angeles who always gives a great first impression (and second and third). She may just be the queen of first impressions. And she obviously supports and is proud of the company who employs her.

Their loyal employee just redeemed a disgruntled long time customer who happens to be her uncle.


Anonymous said...

Bruce, your niece is right on, and she does make a good first impression.


Anonymous said...

Yes I would say she gives a first impression. Wonder if I could get a chance at a second one??

Anonymous said...

You know how chains are, some good some bad.