Don’t Blow These 3 Crucial Customer Interactions

All small business owners are focused on getting new customers in the door, but far fewer are making enough of an effort to keep the customers they’ve spent so much time trying to attract.

The typical business gets new customers every year – and loses customers every year as well.  This loss of customers – or “defection rate” – is staggeringly high in almost every business, ranging from 20-60% annually.  In short, for every ten new customers you get to try out your business, 2-6 leave within the first year.  If you want your business to thrive and grow, it’s essential to make sure these existing customers are feeling welcome – instead of placing all your efforts on customer acquisition and prospecting.

A customer interacts with a business in dozens of different ways, but when you focus on the following three customer interactions and intentionally make them positive and memorable, you’ll have a much better chance at turning customers into loyal fans of your business.

The First Post-Purchase Interaction

After extensive research and price comparison to find the product or service that’s right for them, customers often feel like the moment of clicking the “buy” button and handing over their money is underwhelming. There’s nothing exciting about a formulaic moment of purchase — it feels just like every other transaction the customer has ever completed.

Try to make the moment of purchase feel like a celebration that affirms that the customer has made the right decision by choosing your business. It’s probably not realistic to break out confetti and balloons every time you make a sale, but it’s still important to make the transaction positive, personal, and fun. Think of it as a deposit in the “karmic bank account” of customer goodwill.

The First Invoice

Another early customer interaction that’s frequently overlooked is the initial invoice or receipt. Typically, this invoice is generated by a software program that’s high on accounting functionality but very, very low on “wow” factor.

Sending out a creative, personalized invoice instead of using an unremarkable template serves two purposes. First, drawing a customer in with an eye-catching invoice motivates them to pay the bill right away. Unique invoices also build your customers’ interest in your brand and what you have to offer. Something as simple as a custom-illustrated illustration or a truly personalized, hand written message could stand out from the computer-generated crowd.

The Final Mile

As your business grows and you bring on more customers, the typical business becomes less willing and less able to engage personally with its customers. As a result, you’re not giving them a compelling reason to stick with your brand. When you seem disinterested in your customers, they’ll be much more willing to become disinterested in you.

Getting the customer through the door requires a good first impression, but it’s equally important to take the time to build a final, lasting impression. As you near the end of a customer engagement or project, consider ways you could go above and beyond to deliver one last remarkable experience.  This memory will not only be how they think about your company going forward, but when asked about working with you, their most recent memory will be an extraordinary one.

If you want to learn more about how to enhance your customers’ experience, check out Turn Customers Into Fans in the First 100 Days course on creativeLIVE.

 

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Joey Coleman

Joey Coleman is the Chief Experience Composer at Design Symphony - a customer experience branding firm that specializes in creating unique, attention-grabbing customer experiences. His clients include individual entrepreneurs, start-ups, small businesses, non-profits, government entities, and Fortune 500 companies. For over a decade he's worked with clients that include NASA, Network for Good, Hyatt Hotels, Zappos, the Save Darfur Coalition, and the World Bank - not to mention dozens of regional and local organizations around the world. Prior to founding Design Symphony, Joey held positions with the Corporate Executive Board (NASDAQ: EXBD), the White House (Office of Counsel to the President during the Clinton Administration), the United States Secret Service, and the Central Intelligence Agency.

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