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First Impressions Are Everything: How to Wow First-Time Customers

The moment a potential customer comes in contact with your brand, the customer experience begins. With word of mouth recommendations and firsthand reviews, it’s possible a customer has a sense of your brand before they even arrive at your door. The great news is, regardless of what opinion they may have formed before they interact with your business, you can start off on the right foot with a great first impression.

Yes, we know the cliché, but your first impression is truly a lasting one. Whether someone is patronizing from a recommendation or they’ve just happened upon your business, you have one opportunity to wow them and transform them into a repeat customer. Impress your audience and grow your customer base with these simple but powerful suggestions.

Offer a proper greeting. We greet people with excitement when we’re happy to see them, so let your customers feel a similar enthusiasm when you serve them. Whether it be a specialized greeting or simply an enthusiastic hello, that vibrant good-naturedness is a powerful tool. You’ll also want to eliminate any potential roadblocks that could detract from their first encounter. If your website is their first interaction, make it an easy and pleasant experience by ensuring your digital storefront is user friendly and easy to navigate. Offer help via chat, easily accessible FAQs, and contact information.

Under-promise, but over-deliver. In other words, add value to that initial interaction. It doesn’t have to be a huge gesture, but make the effort to offer something additional that makes customers feel like their investment in your business was a smart decision. Throw in a discount card, or a surprise-and-delight element. A little goes a long way when it comes to making customers feel appreciated.

Be consistent. Don’t make that great first experience a fluke. Even if a customer’s first experience was sterling, they won’t come back if all subsequent experiences are less-than-desirable. Make consistency a part of your customer experience model. Explain the importance of this to your employees and stand behind your expectations. Your front line needs to best deliver on the promise of your brand and represent the spirit of your business. Be sure to value your employees and educate them on how important they are to the customer experience.

Ask for feedback. Solicit input from new and existing customers. This firsthand information is vital in crafting a specialized customer experience. The beauty of asking for customer feedback is that it demonstrates that you value their opinions and allows them to feel heard. Even if their first encounter wasn’t ideal, asking how you could make it better lets them know you care and appreciate their business.

Follow up with your customers. This step is vital, particularly for smaller businesses. Collect their email address and send a follow-up email about their experience, along with a offer for their next purchase. If it’s fitting for your business, consider making a personalized phone call. It’s easy for a customer to feel like just another order number. Think outside the box and craft a way to follow up with your customer.

Creating an incredible first experience for your customers has long-term benefits. Keep in mind that as much effort as went into acquiring those customers needs to go into maintaining that relationship. While it may seem easier to retain a customer, don’t underestimate the effort you’ll need to put forth to keep them coming back for more. These steps are a great way to get things off on the right foot.

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