Make sure that every step of your customer’s journey is a happy one, and then reap the rewards of doing it well.

78% of consumers have abandoned a transaction because of bad customer service. Yikes! With figures like that, it’s clear that customer service is a key success factor for any business.

First impressions count. You get one chance to impress a first-time customers, so don’t waste it. You have to foster trust and communication, or otherwise you risk losing them for good.

From finding your customer value proposition, to post-sale aftercare: here is your blueprint to creating a loyal customer for life.

first-time customersFind your customer value proposition

Before you do anything, you need to identify your customer value proposition. This is a clearly defined statement that highlights your brand’s values. Sit down and brainstorm a few ideas:

  • What does your brand offer that no-one else does?
  • Why should customers be excited about your product or service?
  • What makes you unique?
  • Why are you head and shoulders above the rest?

Answering all these will go towards defining your customer value proposition. Once you have it, use it to inform your customer’s experience. Every step of the way, they need to feel that proposition in your website, your service, your communications — everything.

First-time customersWhat your customer service strategy should entail

Communicate like a human being

We’ve all been there. Trying to get through to customer service for hours on end, only to get through and have someone monotonously read through a script. It’s dull, it’s robotic, and it’s downright frustrating.

So when you’re communicating with your customer, make them know that they’re dealing with a real, caring human being. Everything that they hear or read from your business should sound natural.

Ditch the clinical language! Customers want to speak to a human, and will pull away if they feel they aren’t.

A good rule to follow is to talk to the customer as if you were speaking face-to-face. Use their names, be polite but approachable, and inject a little humor into your conversation. Personalize your communications! It all goes a long way towards a sparkling customer experience.

Check out UPS’ response to a customer complaint on Twitter:

That’s not a boilerplate copy-and-paste response. An actual UPS employee read their tweet and responded as a human. You can bet that customer feels valued!

Value your customer

Whether you’ve got ten customers or ten thousand customers, it’s vital that each one feels valued.

A great customer experience strategy works on a granular level, by appreciating each shopper individually. And it’s the little things that count here. Enroll new customers into a loyalty discount scheme, offering reward points with each transaction. Or why not throw in a small free gift with their first purchase to sweeten the deal?

The fashion retailer ASOS often chucks in freebies for first-time customers (I got Oreos!), and it makes for a nice little surprise for the consumer.

If you want an example of showing customers that they matter, look no further than Buffer. Buffer is a social management tool that automates content marketing for brands and businesses. They also have a huge focus on consumer happiness, and publish a monthly Happiness Report highlighting customer satisfaction with their product.

Build trust from the get-go

Trust is earned, not given, and you start earning your customer’s trust as soon as they engage with your brand. So you need to ensure that everything about your business is open and honest. Transparency is key to improving your customer’s experience, and you need to be clear about everything you do.

Whether you’ve got ten customers or ten thousand customers, it’s vital that each one feels valued. Click To Tweet

For example, if you ask your customer to fill out a form when they’re signing up or making a purchase, let them know why you’re asking for this information and what you’ll do with it. A simple statement that you will only use their information for your own purposes, and will not pass it on to any third parties without their consent goes a long way towards a trusting relationship.

Similarly, if you make a promise to your customer, make sure you follow through with it. If you offer a one year warranty on a product, honor that promise. If you renege on a commitment to a customer, they won’t be coming back.

Follow up after their purchase

So your customer’s bought your product or service, and they’ve paid. What next? Well, your end goal shouldn’t be getting a customer to make a purchase, it should be retaining them so that they might make more in the future. So always follow up with your customer after their purchase.

How did they find your product or service? Was it delivered quickly and on time? Do they have any complaints? You are all ears, and your customer’s thoughts and opinions matter to you.

It only takes a quick follow-up email to let your customer know that you’re thinking of them, and that you value customer feedback.

Follow airport security software developer CLEAR’s example:

First-time customer CLEAR

Always say thank you

Finally, manners don’t cost a penny. Say thank you! Those two words turn a simple transaction into an experience, and a memorable one at that. It makes the shopper and their custom feel valued, and will endear them to your brand.

First impressions count. You get one chance to impress a new customer, so don’t waste it. Click To Tweet

Want to upgrade your gold customer experience to platinum? To really pass on your gratitude to your customer, personalize your thank you. You don’t need to be a world-famous brand with a big marketing budget either. The Big Blue Hug was started by father Jason Goldsmith on Shopify, who was inspired by his autistic son Ellis’ paintings and wanted the world to see them. Jason and Ellis send out a handwritten letter of thanks with every order they send out:first-time customer

That is some truly top class customer service. Obviously if you’re sending out hundreds of orders a month, you might find it a little difficult to handwrite every thank you. So consider giving one out of every ten orders a personalized thank you instead.

They’ll appreciate the gesture, and some might even share it on social media, letting their friends know about the great experience they had. One share could bring in five extra customers, and that’s nothing to sneeze at!

First- time customersUse data to improve customer experience

When you’re improving your first-time customers experience, make it data-driven. Use information gleaned from previous transactions to make future ones better. This can be done very simply in the first instance by that time-tested tradition of just asking.

Send out a customer satisfaction survey after they make a purchase, asking what they liked, what they didn’t like, and how you could do better. Every brand, no matter how big or small, does this, so make sure you do too.

For a more analytical approach, try data mining. Track how long customers spend on certain parts of your store, or if they bounce away from your site on a certain page or product.

There’s a variety of free tools out there, including Google Analytics, to help you measure this. Once you identify potential problems, you can then fix them accordingly.

For example, let’s say customers frequently leave your store at the the payment page. You test it, and see it is too complicated. Once you simplify it, your next customer will have a much smoother checkout process.

Walt Disney once said: “Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it they will want to come back and see you do it again and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.”

Disney knew the importance of customer experience. Treat them as you would you friends. Be honest with them, empathize with them. Make sure that every step of the customer’s journey is a happy one, and then reap the rewards of doing it well.


 

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About the author: 

Victoria GreeneVictoria Greene

Victoria is a branding consultant and online writer. For all the latest on developments in ecommerce, marketing, and design, check out her blog, Victoria Ecommerce. Victoria has a drive for helping store owners get the best return on their online businesses.

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