Why You Need to Nail Your Beginnings and Endings: The Primacy Effect and the Recency Effect

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Connect with your customers and put them at their ease–and give your brand an “unfair advantage” –by absolutely nailing your beginnings and endings. These two points, what the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company calls the “warm welcome” and “fond farewell,” are the moments most likely to linger in your customers’ memories, due to the well-document psychological principles known as the primacy and recency effects. If you can provide comfort to your customers at these two key moments, it can create a halo over the rest of the time they spend with your brand.

So how do you do it?  


Great  beginnings (“warm welcomes”): 

• Answer your phone within 3 rings.  Studies done by the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company have established that by the fourth ring, incoming callers start to lose faith that you’ll ever answer their call--or if you do, that you’ll be competent in the service you provide. 

• Never make a customer feel like an interruption, even for that tell-tale microsecond at the beginning when you take their call before really being ready for it. 

• Smile (yes it matters on the phone as well as in person). 


Great endings (“fond farewells”):

As far as endings, so often we’re relieved to be finally finishing up with a challenging customer issue (and/or a challenging customer!) that we rush off to the next incoming customer without lingering long enough to give closure to that first one.  Invest the extra few seconds it takes to give a true, personalized fond farewell every time. 

Do you have any tips for how to give great beginnings and endings? I’d love to hear them. 


Micah Solomon • Featured influencer

Author • ​Forbes Senior Contributor • Customer Service Consultant

President and CEO, Four Aces Inc. 


Click here to chat live with Micah

micah@micahsolomon.com • micahsolomon.com 



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