All that time you spent on marketing has paid off! The customers are flowing in. You might think the hardest job was getting them in the first place, but you need to have a proper method set in place when on-boarding new customers to keep them long term.
The goal of on-boarding new customers is to get them to believe they made the right choice purchasing from you. You already got them hooked—now it’s time to convince them to stay.
Where do you begin?
Set expectations and goals
You cannot create a process without having a goal. This is the first step to successful on-boarding.
The three main goals of your on-boarding process should be:
- Get your customers to order more than once in the first few weeks
- Establishing a pattern of ordering
- Making your products indispensable to their daily routine
Then ask yourself:
- What should your customers expect from the on-boarding process?
- What steps need to be taken in order for this to be a reality?
- What do you need from the customers to make on-boarding successful?
Outlining what customers need and how to get that to them, will create a successful process.
Map the on-boarding experience
After setting goals and expectations, you must map the on-boarding experience from start to finish. What is the first interaction and how does that transition to being a seasoned customer? This helps you track which stage your customers are at and what next steps need to be taken. We suggest starting with a welcome email along with a signup page - this is where customers add information such as:
- Email Address
- Delivery Address
- Phone Number
Follow this step with a list of inventory and ordering instructions. How you structure your on-boarding experience is entirely up to you - however be sure to make it clear, simple and consistent.
Getting to know your customers
You should be an expert on your buyers. Know how often they need to reorder, their pain points, and products they would like to see in the future. Be sure to collect as much information on your customers as you can. This allows you to address these concerns before they occur. Each customer needs to have a profile on your system with this information, plus their order history.
Send them your inventory
Send new customers a list of your inventory immediately. Let your customers know what they can buy from you. A current list of your inventory also eliminates any confusion about what’s in stock and what’s not.
Note: Make sure to continuously update and resend this list. Your customers might lose the original list or the list might change. Plus its a reminder to your customer to place their weekly order.
Set this up right off the bat. Inform a customer on the best way to communicate with you. Perhaps you create a frequently asked questions section on your website. The more upfront you are at the beginning, the smaller chance that you will have issues in the future. Remember, this is not a sale - it’s a relationship.
Get the first interaction right
People remember bad experiences—don’t let your business be one. Be organized, professional and friendly when interacting with new customers.
A positive beginning will ensure a happy and profitable future. Share the philosophy of your brand and all that your brand offers. If your business uses sales representatives, be sure you have the right people that represent your brand the way you would. Unlike other industries, food is very personal. The first interaction is extremely important.
Nina Galle is Local Line's Content Marketer, creating blog posts, templates, free tools, and other helpful resources for local food suppliers.