How to Create the Ultimate New Customer Experience

5216909292_0c9b8121ef_mTell me about your “buy” process.

This simple question causes confusion for many of our small business clients.

In response they might say: “Once a new customer signs on, we send them a contract and maybe even an invoice and start working with them.”

While that does describe the basic process and in some ways is correct, it’s not really the complete answer.

What I am actually looking for is what is your new customer experience?  How do you thank a customer, orient them for the work, make them feel welcome, set them up for success, and turn them into raving fans is the question I am actually asking here.

One of the most powerful tools to accomplish this right off the bat is the new customer kit.

This tool can be used in just about every industry, however, the contents will vary based on a number of factors. Type of sale, price, upsell potential, client life span, and other pieces of information should be considered when creating a new customer kit.

What should be included in every Marketing Kit?

Welcome and/or thank you note
I am sure you have heard it by now: A handwritten note goes a long way these days.  If a handwritten note is not possible, include a printed letter with an actual signature from the CEO. Sure it might not be the most fun signing 100 letters but think of each signature as a new closed sale and the process gets a little more exciting.

A branded invoice
This is where people fall off the map from time to time.  Anything to do with financial transactions should be taken seriously, don’t forget the invoice and fail at one of your first impressions.  Some pieces to include besides basic elements of an invoice: branding (colors, fonts, logos), contact information, URL to website and links to social media profiles.

Contact information for members of the team
More than just a link to a “contact us” page here.  Include actual pictures, actual email addresses, actual phone numbers.  Customers love to have a connect with the people they are purchasing from vs feeling like the are giving their money to a team of robots.

Additional items to include in the Ultimate New Customer Kit:

Introduction to success
Overview on how to get the most out of your products or services.   This could include best practices, FAQs, and “how to” content.

What to expect next
Will you be contacting the client to schedule a demo? Will they receive login details soon? Taking out the wonder and make the process as simple as possible is the goal here.

Pledge to clients
What is your plan to make sure the client is taken care of? What is your Mission? What are your company values? An overview of why you do what you do – how you make the world a better place for your clients.

We appreciate you
A “surprise and delight.” Some kind of gift that the client is not expecting. This could be something related to your products or services or something completely unrelated. Every time I order from Photojojo, I look forward to receiving my little free dinosaur they include with the invoice. Do I need a toy dino? Of course not, but I appreciate the unexpected little bonus and it makes me smile.

Free stuff
Do you have any samples? Could you provide a “try” opportunity to upsell a client to a different product or service? The main focus here is providing something else free to the client with the goal to sell.

Introduction to your Referral Program
Do you have a referral program in place? A client may not be 100% ready to suggest a referral at this stage, however, informing them of the program will help them keep the opportunity in mind as you continue to make them the happiest customer possible.

As you can see, the new customer kit not only provides your customer with the best possible onboarding experience, it also gives you the chance to upsell and ask for referrals making it a very important element in the overall marketing plan.

Now it’s your turn! What do you include in your new customer kit?

Sara HeadshotSara Jantsch is the Director of Community at Duct Tape Marketing.  It is Sara’s job to see to all the little things that make our community members feel appreciated, informed, special and looked after.  She is also a Marketing Consultant and has a strong passion for working with small business owners.

A Simple Approach to The Customer Journey

Today’s Guest Post is by Duct Tape Marketing Consultant, David Smith – Enjoy!

customer journey

Photo Credit: OneDollarPhoto, gustavofrazao

If you are a small business owner, you instinctively know it’s a wonderful thing when a customer receives value AND has a very positive experience when they deal with your business.

If the journey is hard and the experience is on par with your peers, or worse, unpleasant, you’ll have no chance of building a lasting relationship (loyalty) with the customer. You’ll miss out on the repeat business and referrals that delighted customers bring.

Plainly speaking: The better the experience with your business, the more opportunity you will have with the customer.

That is why Customer Experience (CX) has become a much talked about element for building a successful business.

The major consultancies (Gartner, Forrester, etc.) define Customer Experience in a common way: customer feelings and perceptions caused by interactions with your business. Large companies are advised to have coordinated and consistent experiences across their multiple channels and business units. Many large organizations have an entire department focused on nothing but Customer Experience.

If you are a small business, the complexities of multiple business units may not exist. Your sales transaction, support, service, training, and other opportunities to craft customer experiences go through a small set of people and systems within your business. With limited resources, effectively designing and managing the Customer Experience can become overwhelming to a small business.

By taking a simple approach, a small business can achieve the same results as a large organization that has a Customer Experience Officer or Department.

Using a small business perspective may be the best way for you to think, plan, and implement interactions that achieve positive feelings about your business.

Instead of thinking Customer Experience (macro) think Customer Journey (micro).

Simply put – break it down.

Practically speaking, the Customer Experience is made up of many Customer Journeys. The Customer Journey is the path customers take to solve a particular problem or need. In some cases, the journey results in a transaction for a good or service, which is why the Customer Journey is sometimes also called the Buyer’s Journey.

Customer Journeys are repeated for every instance where the consumer is purposely engaged and looking to achieve a value outcome. The cumulative effect of these interactions creates the Customer Experience.

By breaking it down, moving from the macro view of Experience to the micro view of Journeys, you can begin to simplify and design the interactions of your customers one at a time. The Journeys are simply the interactions and opportunities you have to deliver value and build positive feelings in your customer.

There are potentially dozens of major points of interaction within a small business. Examples include interactions from:

  • the initial purchase
  • returning customers
  • support or service
  • training or instruction
  • billing or administration

If you use a consistent framework, such as the Duct Tape Marketing Hourglass™, you can define the customer progression toward value and positive feelings. The Hourglass will allow you to map the progress the customer takes from discovering they Know, Like, and Trust your business, into the conversion phase of the Hourglass, Try and Buy.

The Customer Journey doesn’t have to be complicated. Breaking it down into small parts allows you to successfully build systems that deliver value and create positive interaction.

David Smith Valens PointDavid knows first hand the strains of expanding a small business while continually delivering optimal customer and financial results. He comes from a long line of entrepreneurs and understands the ability to gain additional customers and revenue has proven to be the critical element of small business. David helps customers install effective sales and marketing programs via his firm ValensPoint. He earned a degree in Business Administration from Faulkner University (Montgomery, AL). He resides near Anniston, AL.

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