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6 Lessons in Creating a Lasting Impression

By: Debbie Alexander, Program Coordinator

On my morning commute a few weeks ago, the radio announcer asked a question: What was the one thing your parents did when you were a child that has stayed with you through adulthood?

I couldn’t help but wonder what lasting impression I had made on my 3 adult children. I immediately called them, and two of them had the same response – our Saturday morning cleaning routine. They say it taught them responsibility and gave them structure. I took this as a positive, and added a gold star to my Super Mom status.

I can’t help but apply this to work as well. What lasting impression are we leaving on our clients? What will they say about ASG and what are we doing to shape their impression? I want to be the best possible representative of ASG and my clients, and a few basic values help me maintain this focus:

Exceed Expectations

What goals does your organization have and how can you not only meet them, but exceed them? What will it take to wow the client? Albert Einstein said “You have to learn the rules of the game. And then you have to play better than anyone else.” This should be our goal with all of our associations – to find out their wants and needs, and then deliver even more (“play better”).  Several of the clients I serve are new to ASG, and this “wow factor” is particularly important as we move through the first years of transition.

Be Prepared

Think about all the “what-ifs” and have a response ready. Put yourself in the position of a meeting attendee – what would you want to know? Where are the bathrooms located? Where is the nearest ATM? Where can I store my luggage during the conference? Have a plan for possible changes to scheduled activities and while you can’t prepare for every possible question or scenario that might come up, you can have a basic back up plan that can be tweaked and altered along the way.

Take Responsibility 

We often get questions that we might not know the answer to, usually because it relates to something outside of our normal responsibilities. But don’t pass the buck. Taking the time to find an answer for a client rather than passing them off to someone else is a good way to add value in a client’s eyes.

Be Available

The associations I work with are non-profit and officers serve on a volunteer basis. They all have “regular” jobs in addition to their association duties. This can mean that they often have questions or issues that arise outside of normal business hours. I make it a point to check email even on the weekend, and answer any time-sensitive issues right away.

Be Friendly

This may seem like a given, but sometimes it gets taken for granted. When it comes to our clients, we should always be upbeat and eager to talk to them. They need to know that serving them is our number one priority and that we are happy to do it.

Keep Learning, Don’t Settle 

You’re never too old to learn! Keep looking for new ways to add value for your clients, whether it be sprucing up their website or newsletter, or offering new incentives to gain members or attendees. Just because your current program works, doesn’t mean there isn’t room for improvement.

Just like with our kids, we want to leave our clients with a positive lasting impression. When they hear ASG – we want the immediate reaction to be a favorable one. We want the gold star.