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Remember that old adage “If you can’t do something right, don’t do it at all”? If your employees aren’t committed to providing the best customer experience from START to FINISH, then why even engage a customer in the first place?

New or potential customers can be an unforgiving bunch. They want and hope for a positive experience, but sadly, they don’t always get it. These are the customers that leave angry and become potentially viral to your business — and in this case, NOT in a good way.

Luckily, there’s a safety net that’ll catch those wavering customers and reel them back in. It’s a last-ditch effort to overcome a potentially rocky customer experience. It’s a fond farewell.


Done well, fond farewells do three things:

1.  They overcome or minimize a less-than-stellar experience.
2. They serve as the guests’ last impression of the experience you shape.
3. They plant the seed of loyalty.

Your fate rests within a FOND FAREWELL...

In Spark #7, we discussed how to set the tone for a positive experience by creating awesome arrivals and placing our best employees up front. Just like a major league pitcher would lead with his best pitch in the first inning, the closer must then seal the deal in the 9th. In fact, every other game-changing play becomes irrelevant if the rest of the team can’t keep the momentum running until the end.

To cap a service experience on a high note, first think about the lasting impression you want to give your customer. If it’s a mediocre or indifferent feeling, then by all means, proceed as planned. If it’s an experience packed with delightful, inspired, and engaging service, then consider committing to a fond farewell strategy. 

Why it’s effective

Use a positive, heartfelt, and sincere goodbye to shape the impression you want your customer to remember, regardless of the missteps that may have happened earlier in the service process.  Customers are more likely to internalize the last positive thing they encountered rather than any imperfect interaction that came beforehand.

Every now and then, the middle innings get a little shaky and we’re forced to compensate for it later. Your employees may make a few mistakes or waste an opportunity to deliver responsible service. When that happens, an average leader will give up and say, “Oh well, on to the next one.” The INSPIRED leader does everything they can to preserve the relationship with a fond farewell, and most importantly, a heartfelt invitation to return soon.

Here’s our fond farewell: 

Thank you for being a part of our Spark blog community, we know your time is limited and valuable. The fact that you found the time read our Spark is genuinely appreciated. We never take you for granted and we’ll do our best to make our next Spark even more creative. Can’t wait to see you again next month!

Your turn. Work Happy!


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: With over 20 years of Disney leadership experience, Mike Donnelly, Chief Experience Officer (CEO) of Donnelly Effect shares his insights on Talent Selection and HiringEmployee OnboardingCustomer ExperienceService Culture and Leadership-among others. Donnelly Effect is home of the exclusive "World-Class Workshop" series and offers consulting services and keynote addresses to audiences of all sizes and industries. Since 2007, Mike Donnelly has been a contracted Disney Institute Facilitator, delivering Disney customer service training to audiences across the United States. 


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