After That First Impression

After That First Impression

“You only have one chance to make a first impression.”

This adage rings true, but the corollary is that “You have lots of opportunity to ruin that first impression.” Beyond the first impression, every interaction in a developing liaison is important. Without familiarity, trust, and a reservoir of goodwill, a misstep by either party can be the death knell to an otherwise beautiful relationship.

Think of online dating. Users can spend hours picking the right photo and writing their profile to make a positive first impression. If two parties agree to meet for a date, each is going to ensure they come across as someone whom the other would want to spend time with. On that date, each person presents themselves and acts in a way to land a second date. In short, relationships take time to develop, and you don’t want to ruin it before the other person gets to know you. Then you need to maintain the relationship.

Relationships between consumer brands and their customers begin in a very similar fashion. Companies typically focus on advertising to make that first impression and on the experience of using the product to maintain the relationship. Where they often drop the ball is at the “first date” – the Out-of-Box Experience (OOBE) and the ease of setup. As with any budding relationship, ignoring the steps after the first impression can be costly.

At Bose, calls to customer service for a recently launched home theater system made it clear that the systems were challenging to setup and use, and many customers were not enjoying the lifelike sound as often they’d hoped. This feedback inspired a Bose team to develop a home theater system that practically set itself up and was so easy to operate, a babysitter could use it without any instruction.

Getting the system to the point it could guide setup itself was a significant effort: the Bose User Experience team completely rethought the OOBE, grouping parts into 5 numbered boxes, each containing only the parts necessary to complete that work step so as not to overwhelm the consumer.

The results of this focus on the ‘intermediate steps’ were tremendous. As well as increased customer satisfaction and boosts to the brand, system returns dropped by an amazing 90%. Calls to customer service for setup assistance dropped by an equally impressive 70%.

Companies that continue to ignore the OOBE for their products are essentially showing up to their first date with a mullet and wearing parachute pants. It’s time for consumer durable companies to pay close attention to that “first date” and make sure they continue to present themselves in their best light as they progress to having a long-term relationship with the consumer.

RacerX can help you transform great first impressions into long-term customer relationships. For more information, contact us at