ON-BOARDING A NEW CUSTOMER
One of the most important times in a relationship with a new customer is when the relationship first starts. This is the time to reinforce their decision to choose your firm. This is also the time when a lasting, positive impression should be imprinted.
Even with a retail store catering to consumers, a simple “Is this your first visit to our store?” is a good start. If the answer is yes, then offer something of immediate value. There are a variety of ways to make that offer including a subscription to your value based e-newsletter, a discount on their next purchase or an imprinted pen along with a questionnaire to give you feedback on your operation. Given a little more thought, a wide variety of other first time visitor gifts can be developed. This should occur regardless of the amount of purchase. The goal is to get that customer to not only return but to talk about their unique experience.
When the product is a service or a large ticket item, there is a lot more flexibility in the on-boarding process. The delivery of immediate value is still a critical part of the equation. Depending upon the type of product or service and who the customer is, the value can include such things as: a gift, a future discount, free movie tickets, an invitation to a meeting or presentation, a book, etc. This should be followed by a personal call to see if there is anything else, you as a seller can do.
In all cases, the on-boarding process requires thought, the development of a system, and then consistent implementation. A brainstorming session with your mentor or peer group is an excellent way to come up with the ideal process for your firm.
The on-boarding process sets the expectation; the ongoing “customer maintenance” process guarantees a lifetime customer that serves as an ongoing referral source.
There is a lot of work required to grow a small business into a profitable and sustainable enterprise. What you have just finished reading is one of the cornerstones of a successful business foundation. Remember that this system has to be in writing, implemented and continued.
A good plan implemented today is better than a perfect plan implemented tomorrow. George Patton
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