Whether online or offline, a customer’s first time experience with your business is incredibly important and has a very large impact on the likelihood that they return again.
On average, loyal customers are worth up to 10 times as much as their first purchase. (White House Office of Consumer Affairs)
So how can you ensure that wherever new customers discover your business they get the first time experience they deserve and that will keep them coming back? Just follow these five techniques and you’ll own your customers’ first time experience.
1. Online: Simplify Your Site
One of the most common reasons potential customers leave your website before purchasing, submitting an email address to a form, or inquiring for more information is that they couldn’t find what they were looking for.
Make sure your homepage is easy to understand and navigate. Not sure if it is? Check out Peek, a free service of Usertesting that provides 5 minute videos of real people using your site and offering comments. It’s incredible what you can learn about your website from hearing someone else experience it for the first time.
2. Offline: Get To Know Your New Customers
It’s pretty easy to notice a new customer in your physical business. They may look a little lost as they try to understand the products/services you are offering, your prices, and even the physical layout of your store. As a small business owner, you should aim to engage these new customers with a 10 second introductory story letting them know what your business is all about.
Your story could go something like this, “Hi, have you ever been to [business name] before? Great, thank you for stopping by, we specialize in [Product/Service] and I’ll be here to answer any questions as you walk around if you need me.”
Approximately 9 out of 10 US Consumers say they would pay more to ensure superior customer service. (Customer Experience Impact Report by Harris)
Make sure you deliver that superior customer service from day one to keep your new customers coming back.
3. Online: Focus Your Website Visitors on What Matters
What’s the most important part of your site? Is it a contact form where users enter an email address? Is it your store where customers can purchase products? Or is it your blog, where you write regularly about topics related to your business?
Make sure you direct new users to the actions you want them to complete on your site. You can accomplish this goal by putting these elements higher up on your homepage, reorganizing your site navigation, or using a free welcome bar like Notibar. Notibar allows you to create a custom welcome bar that matches your site design and is impossible for new visitors to miss! Add a promo code for an even more compelling offer.
4. Offline: Offer a Discount on a Future Purchase
One of the easiest and best ways to improve your first time experience is to include a big discount on a future purchase. Although it may seem you’re reducing your future profitability, the truth is actually quite the opposite.
It’s 7 times more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep a current one. (White House Office of Consumer Affairs)
Knowing this, it’s definitely worth the small investment of providing discount on a future purchase to turn a new customer into a repeat one.
5. Online and Offline: Communicate With Your Current Customers
As a small business owner, you are also the spokesperson of your business. Make sure to communicate with your customers over Twitter, Facebook, or email on a regular basis. Tell them about your new products and services. Thank them for their loyalty with a discount offer they can redeem in store or online. Wish them happy holidays during the holiday season. This type of continuous messaging will help convert first time customers into long-time advocates of your business.
Finally, make sure your customers have an outlet to share their experiences, both positive and negative, with you.
If you can resolve a complaint in a customer’s favor, they will do business with you again 70% of the time. (Lee Resources)
A new customer’s first time experience with your website or your brick-and-mortar business is incredibly important and can mean the difference between a one-time small dollar purchase and a lifetime of loyalty. Given these high stakes, it’s essential to treat the first time experience with the care and support it deserves.
How do you make your new customers feel special? How do you convince customers to return to your store time and time again? We’d love to hear what has and hasn’t worked for your small business!