4A’s of Customer Service – Appearance


A is for Appearance


Great customer service doesn’t happen by chance. It is a well thought through and executed set of actions that are deliberately played out just to put a smile on your face.


As Customer Service experts, New Chapter Learning has made it their business to refine and distil just what makes great customer service.  Surprisingly it turns out to be just four behaviours, which we call the 4A’s and Appearance is just one of them. The other three are Attitude, Attention and Accuracy.  You can read them all on our website

Together they make up a suite of elements which when joined together cannot help but bring pleasure to every customer encounter.  And it’s not a complicated process – just four basic elements that everyone is familiar with so simplicity itself.

This is number one in a series of four blogs which focusses on each of the elements. In this blog I am going to talk about the first of the 4A’s, Appearance.


There is no getting away from the fact that first impressions count. Everything from the font size used for your branding to the tidiness of the street outside the shop door have something to say about your business and tell a story to your customer.  Some of this detail is quite expensive as things like graphic design are often not cheap – but most appearance details of a business or product cost nothing at all.  The way you make a first impression on a customer can have a profound effect on the way that customer sees your business.  It will influence their decision to stay and buy or even to come back again.


You only get one chance to make a first impression.


Let’s imagine a situation where Appearance has not been totally attended to.  A clothes shop in town has had a complete makeover.  The front window and entrance is modern, clean and bright.  The displays are attracting passers-by and the inside is well laid out with the latest fashions.  Upbeat music completes the scene, giving the shop a ‘buzz’.  So why are sales poor?  The refit alone was very expensive so what’s going wrong?  A is for Appearance so even the shop assistants have been given smart uniforms.  It all looks fabulous – but there is one important piece of the appearance puzzle missing.  The assistants are not smiling, they look bored and disinterested.  Half the staff are hiding in the back and the ones that can be seen are leaning against the counter, chatting to each other and not even acknowledging the customers.  The customers might as well be invisible and feel like they are.  No wonder they are not buying and even more devastatingly to the shop, not coming back.

Appearance is so important because that first impression is the one that stays with your customers forever.  What is important to customers is the way you make them feel when they first ‘see’ you.  It makes an emotional connection that says ‘I like it here, I feel valued so I’ll come back’.  The old saying ‘People buy people’ sums up what is happening here so it’s crucial to ensure that the face of your business, your people, know all about the importance of how they ‘appear’ to customers.


And it’s not just customer facing businesses that have to make sure that their Appearance is emotionally engaging.  Telephone services have to use their tone of voice to create that first impression.  Everything from the quality of the hold music to the number of times the automated voice says ‘your call is important to us’, to the number of options you have to choose from.  And when there is a person on the end of the line, that great first impression is created by appearing interested in the customer through their knowledge, clear language and a helpful tone in their voice.


So Appearance is more than what your business or product looks like.  It’s the people that make up your business that are the critical link to your customers and it is how they ‘appear’ that creates customers that feel valued.

They say ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover’ but in the world of customer experience the cover is what the customer uses to decide whether or not to try and buy.

Appearance – one of the 4A’s that create great customer experiences and give your customer a reason to love you.

You can preview the 4 A’s Customer Service Superhero eLearning here and buy it here

If you have enjoyed this blog, why not read the other three in the 4A’s series by visiting our website

Jacci Wright

Director New Chapter Learning Ltd