First impressions are crucial. We decide within seconds whether we like or trust a person within seconds of meeting them. The same is true for a customer meeting a new business for the first time, and their impression is based on a few defining points that your customers use to judge your business.
Helpful, Knowledgable Staff
The importance of a great team cannot be stressed enough. This is one of the things that we mention often in this blog, and the reason is that the people who work at your business are one of the first things that will either cause someone to fall in love with your business and become a loyal customer, or turn them off to you completely.
Hand-picking and carefully training your team is something to which it is worth devoting a good deal of time & energy.
A Comfortable Environment
You may not have a physical building for a store, but you can make your visitors comfortable even if they are visiting your website. This can be accomplished by doing things like having a clean landing page that is easy on the eyes, with a simple layout.
If you do have a real-world store, then it’s the same basic idea. Customers coming in should instantly feel welcome and comfortable being there. That means making sure it’s very clean, not too dark or bright, and just generally pleasant to visit.
Everything is Easy to Find
Clutter and chaos has no place in a business, neither in the front end, nor the back end. So in addition to offering a comfortable space for your customers, they should be able to find what they came for pretty quickly. If you have a massive inventory of products, then you’ve got to either figure out a system that allows someone, unaided, to find what they’re looking for (such as a local search engine for your online inventory), or you need to have some kind of assistance in place to help them find it, even if that assistance is automated.
Solutions, not Deficiencies
One of the first questions you might receive from a new customer is, ‘Do you have so-and-so in stock?’ or, ‘do you provide this service?’. Naturally, you won’t always have what they’re looking for, and instead of just saying “I’m sorry, we don’t have that,” you can still make them happy by doing everything you can to accommodate their need.
You’re more likely to retain them as a customer if you take the approach of, “We don’t have that available right now, but we can offer this and this,” or (without sending them to a competitor) try and help them find an alternate solution.
It doesn’t take long for a new customer to figure out whether or not they like what you have to offer, and in the increasingly competitive market across the board, your store (or first point-of-contact) has to be up to spec. To make sure that people love your business right away, just pay attention to detail and put yourself in the customer’s shoes to provide the best possible experience for them.
Stephanie is the Marketing Director at Talkroute and has been featured in Forbes, Inc, and Entrepreneur as a leading authority on business and telecommunications.
Stephanie is also the chief editor and contributing author for the Talkroute blog helping more than 100k entrepreneurs to start, run, and grow their businesses.