Why first impressions matter

First impressions matter, but not in a way you’d think. Let me explain…

When experiencing a product or a service customers will be guided through this experience by their first impression. In a way this is snap-judgement and in a way it is totally unfair of them to do so but that’s the way it is.

You see, our brain is constantly bombarded by millions of tiny bits of information. So our brain became very good at filtering out what’s what and what is worth paying attention to. And thus we judge things and the quicker we can judge the better we are off. See for example our tendency to put people in boxes: This person is a pusher and that person is a whiner and so on. Sure it is rude and will never do these people justice but for our brain it is a shortcut, which in some situations can be very handy.

But to rate an experience you need a baseline, something to compare it to. And this is where the first impression comes in. Our brain tries to judge something very quickly and then only ever compares it to this initial assessment. So if your product fails at the first impression it’ll be very hard to convince the customer otherwise. If on the other hand the first impression is a good one all further interactions with the product will be helped by this. Your customers might even forgive you some minor errors here and there because their general opinion of the product is good.

You know this from pitching ideas to clients. If at first they didn’t like an idea how often did you convince them of it anyways? Probably only very few times and when you did it probably took you quite some effort.

So your product and service needs to make a good first impression to smoothly sail your customers through the experience — if it doesn’t you’ll face an uphill battle against your their initial judgement. It also has to make a good last impression but we’ll discuss this in the next article.