On last impressions

Every year in June, Collegewise families are invited to re-enroll in the next level of our program.  Most continue with us, but not all.  Some decide that they just don't need a college counselor or that their student should go to community college first.  Other times, we mutually decide that we're not a great fit together and we refer them to another counselor who we think may be right for them.  But no matter what the circumstance, we try to part ways on great terms. 

We want people to feel good about their experience with us even if they leave our program.  And what they'll remember most is their last interaction, the way we conducted ourselves once we knew it was over between us.  That's the last impression we leave, and we want to make it count.

Last week, I told one of our vendors that after eight years, I wouldn't need their services again this year.  I made it clear that there were no hard feelings and that I wasn't unhappy–I just didn't have a need for them any longer.  All I got in response was a brief–"OK, we'll cancel the invoice."

There's nothing wrong with what they did.  But how hard would it have been to send me a nice email and thank me for doing business with them for almost a decade?  I've probably spent over $5,000 during that time.  How much would it have taken to do just a little extra to part good friends rather than mutual acquaintances.

Had they done just a little more to make my last impression a better one, I would be singing their praises.  I'd go out of my way to refer potential business to them because of how I remembered that last interaction. It wouldn't have been that hard.  Wouldn't it have been worth it?

We can talk about making a great first impression.  But maybe the last one is more important?