Do you ever fall down at the final fence?

What a waste!

You’ve had a fantastic time. You’ve been well cared for, attended to with fantastic hospitality. Your meal, stay or day out was wonderful, the atmosphere was relaxed and all your friends and family have had a good time.

But then it all turns sour. It’s time to go home and suddenly no one is interested. You want to pay, but nobody wants to take your money! You take a visit to the loos and wish you hadn’t. You’ve lost your gloves and want to report it to lost property, but cant find anyone. You were told about membership to get your entrance fee refunded but there’s no one to be found, so you think “forget it!”.

Has this ever happened to you?

More importantly has it ever happened to any of your customers?

One of the most important determining factors in prompting a positive lasting memory and potential repeat visit is what happens in the very last few minutes of the customers’ experience.

What’s the very last thing your customers see, hear, smell, taste or feel as they leave.

Do they feel appreciated and that you’re sorry to see them go?  Or are you unintentionally making signs that you’ve other more important things to be getting on with? The equivalent of impatiently looking at your watch or getting the hoover out! It may not be obvious, but letting them know you’re running late, that you’re relieved it’s home time or closing time, showing signs of rushing them out of the door or off the premises.

How about when the boot is on the other foot – they are the ones in a hurry or ready to leave, and we keep them waiting to pay their bill or check out. That’s not the best impression to leave with a customer when they have to wait to part with their money, but it might be the one thing that puts a damper on an otherwise great experience.

What’s going on behind the scene that’s not quite what you’d like your customers to experience? Are your toilets as pristine at the end of a busy day as they are at the beginning? (Just reflect on how many of your customers make the ladies or gents their last port of call before setting out on their journey home.)

What’s the last conversation they hear as they leave? Is it all genuine smiles and sincere thank yous, or do they get to hear the back stage gossiping and gripes? Or the complaints about how busy they’ve been and how tired they are, or about how poor your payment process because of the slow internet connection which is why they’ve been kept waiting.

What’s the last thing they see on their way to the car park? Particularly if there’s a sneaky short cut via a rear exit.  Is it the chaos of a back office, the cluttered cleaning cupboard or the over flowing bins, or even your team having a crafty cigarette by the back door?

What do they see or feel in the car park? How secure do they feel if it’s dark? Is the level of service consistent with everything else, or is the last person they see a grumpy car park attendant or off duty team members fooling around and letting the side down?

Everything your customer experiences during their visit up to this point might be seamless and perfect.


It’s those last few moments which influence the end result – how they feel, what they say, and what they do as a result of their visit. So don’t let it all fall down at the final fence.

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2 thoughts on “Do you ever fall down at the final fence?

  1. Liz

    I really like this – great food for thought. Thank you Caroline.

    How do we want to leave our customers feeling? I think overall we give our customers/clients a good experience, even a great experience with a refreshments menu rivaling a small telephone directory! We are mindful of welcoming them into our office space as if they were coming into our home…I am pondering though – how can we give them an even BETTER experience?

    In the world of finance, facts and tax, how can we at our practice leave our clients with a smile on their faces? Total financial peace of mind. We do very well in many aspects of a physical client meeting but BETWEEN these client meetings is there room for improvement? I know the answer is YES!

  2. Caroline Cooper Post author

    Let me know what you come up with to improve! Naturally if you’d like to chat about any of your ideas I’m more than happy to do so…

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