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3 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.

7 5 Ways to Turn Transactions Into Referrals

In today’s inbound marketing, content driven, socially connected world organizations have become very, very good at building trust, providing education and moving prospects to the point of buying, but not always as good at transitioning all the warm fuzziness to the actual purchase experience.

small_2534651587I’ve long contended that repeat and referral customers are born during the first transaction.

The simplest of touches can turn an uneventful transaction into an experience worth sharing with friends.

Below are five steps to consider as you build a customer purchase system that will turn the process of buying your products and services into a brand building asset.

1. Remove all friction

Sometimes we make our customers do things that don’t make sense to them because we try to over automate. I’m all for automation, but we need to think in terms on how it impacts the customer experience and not always how it impacts our workflow. Convenience is a tremendous relationship builder and differentiator. Look to add technology that works every time, doesn’t require needless steps and treats a customer, well, like a customer, instead of a robot. Sure, this kind of stuff takes more time and effort, but it takes you competitors more time and effort too!

2. Over orient

Again, one autoresponder acknowledgement message won’t cut it. Create an entire process where you orient your customers on every aspect of your business, their transaction, expectations and next steps. Build a “new customer kit” and make this form of education an integral part of bringing customers on for the long haul.

3. Surprise them

Over deliver and surprise your new customers with something they didn’t expect. People love good surprises and few things get people talking faster than something they didn’t expect. Lots of people get this idea, but also don’t forget your long time customers. Sometimes in the rush to get new customers we forget about the ones that got us here. I remember a few years ago I brought out a new product and offered a special deal in a promotion. I had a few customers that had paid full price prior to the promotion. I went back and offered them the discount and I’ve since lost count of how many customers one of those recipients has referred.

4. Get input

I love that technology can allow us to better understand the interactions we have with our customers, but I really love that by taking the time to get feedback you can avoid disasters and improve places that don’t seem to work. By creating a process that asks customers how likely they are to refer your business you can automatically get referrals and testimonials and you can learn when something went wrong. People often don’t offer feedback unless asked and that includes those that simply go away and tell their friends to stay away. Give them a chance to be heard and fix problems as they occur – it’s amazing how often a detractor can be turned into an advocate when you respond. (Visit this post for some ways to do this.)

5. Show gratitude

My mom taught me this and it’s still great advice! You know you are thankful for the fact that people put down their hard earned money, but sometimes in the rush of business it’s easy to let the acknowledgement slip. Build it into your process. Write handwritten notes every Friday, connect with another local business and send their products as a thank you, pick up the phone and simply call to say thanks. Figure out how to make this a habit, you’ll get as much out of doing this as the person receiving your gratitude.

photo credit: Dot D via photopin cc