Have you ever heard this expression: “First impressions are everything?” What about this one: "You never get a second chance to make a first impression?" The reality is, both are very true when it comes to almost every facet of your business. Good first impressions create meaningful lasting impressions, which is why it's so hard to land the plane smoothly on your first try, so to speak.
So, how can you make sure you're wowing your clients from Day 1? How can you ensure that you're turning those customers into "lifers," some of whom even referring to you as a friend? Discover five ways to make a great first impression with any customer:
When to comes to embarking on a new class or acitivity, first-day jitters are just as real for parents as they are for kids. Plenty of questions will surely be clouding their minds prior to meeting you: What’s the dress code? Do we need to buy any clothing or equipment? Is my child at the same level as the other kids his/her age? Where do we go, what do we need to do on the first day?
The best thign you can do in this scenario is ease their minds and let them know exactly what to expect. You can do this several different ways, including:
- Add more details on their registration receipt (about the dress code, class, equipment needed, etc.);
- Send a reminder email a week before the class letting them know what will be happening on the first day; and
- Hold an open house so prospective kids and their parents can meet your staff and get a feel for the organization
Give a Personalized Tour
Remember when a new school year began, all your classes changed and you had to wander around feeling shy and uncomfortable, trying to familiarize yourself with your new routine? Coming into a new club for the first time can be stressful for a child, so it’s really important to put both them and their parents and child at ease right away. You want to get them excited about coming back, not dread the prospect of getting lost in the shuffle.
Some small things that can help make that welcoming or transition phase smoother are:
- Greeting them at the door;
- Giving both parents and students a tour of the entire facility (changing rooms, bathrooms, administrative offices, parent area); and
- Letting them know where to find you and how to reach you– this way, if they need anything they feel comfortable knowing someone is there for them
Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name and you’re always glad you came. Parents and children will be most comfortable at your club if they know your staff well, so create those relationships right away by making the appropriate introductions and giving them the opportunity to ask questions.
Little details, like knowing the names of the coaches and support staff, make all the difference to newcomers and will make them feel like they're creating deeper, more personal connections right off the bat. If you're thinking about or have already scheduled an open house, even better. This allows kids and parents to make those connections before classes even begin.
The Welcome Package
It doesn't need to be a grand or expensive endeavor, but having a small welcome package prepared as a token of appreciation, to thank new members for choosing your club, is a deft touch when it comes to making both kids and parents feel at home. You'll delight every single one of your newcomers and get them talking about your thoughtfulness.
Here’s a few ideas for welcome packages you can build for new clients:
- Branded items such as water bottles, t-shirts and tote bags.
- A 1-page calendar with important dates and contact information.
- A personalized thank you card for registering with a discount for their next session.
- If you have a referral program, give them details on how they can benefit from spreading the word.
They made it through their first day, they didn’t get lost, they wore the right uniform and they knew everyone’s name; but, how did their class go? You want lifetime clients, not one-timers, so let them know you genuinely care about their experience at your club. There are plenty of ways to connect with them after their first class or activity, but don't let the opportunity pass you by.
Make a point to check-in with both the kids and the parents after that first fully-fledged interaction with your club and take the time to ensure it's as personalized as possible. If you can’t speak with them face-to-face after class, send a follow-up email and ask how the first day went. Inquire as to what their favorite part of the class or day was and, more importantly, let them know that their thoughts and opinions are valuable. Capture feedback by asking if there are areas you could improve on and use newsletters to keep your parents in the loop all throughout the session.
Lasting impressions will not only keep your new clients coming back for more but will also entice them to refer your club to their friends. Be sure to train all of your staff on your customer service procedures so the experience is consistent for everyone. In doing so, you'll not only create a great experience for first-timers but you'll also positive company culture and atmosphere. Remember: Your reputation proceeds you. New clients will know about your club before they interact with you and, by implementing the strategies listed above, you will definitely "have them at hello."
How does your online impression stack up against your offline impression? Odds are new clients are looking for you or organizations like yours online right now. Interested in ways to improve your first impression online? Amilia specializes in online registration and club management. We can help make your online first impression amazing.