First impressions are…

By January 5, 2015Blog

…everything! Ok, maybe first impressions aren’t everything. But, for Customer Success, they sure are important. Imagine for a minute that you’ve decided to go out to eat.  You’ve heard of a new restaurant and you want to try it out. You look it up online; the well designed website is inviting and the photos of the food are appealing. You check out the menu and you like it, in fact, your mouth starts to water.  A few hours later you find yourself standing at the front door. At this point, you’ve made a critical decision; you’re going to try the restaurant, but this first experience will ultimately determine if you decide to come back.

What happens next is critically important.  Your first impression is a make or break deal. In order to get you back, they need to knock it out of the park.  Now remember, they’ve already sold you on the idea of a trial.  At this point, their trying to retain you so that you come back again and again. From how the restaurant looks when you first walk in, to how the host greats you, to how your server talks about the menu, to how the food tastes and is presented, your first experience is critical. Whatever happens during this first experience will get you excited about the restaurant, or completely disappoint you. It can motivate you to go out and tell your friends about how great it is, or give you post-purchase dissonance.

The best restaurants in the world, and I don’t just mean the highest priced, create amazing first experiences.  When you walk in the door, the way the restaurant looks and feels exceeds your expectations.  You’re often greeted by a happy host who then gives you a short tour as they walk you to your table – all while talking about the restaurant’s theme. When your server arrives, they ask if it’s your first time and then they carefully give you a tour of the menu while suggesting key dishes that may most appeal to you.  As the meal goes on, the server suggests wines that pair best with your dish or a dessert that they think you’ll love.

Now, think about your SaaS product.  What kind of first experience are you offering?  Are you acting like the diligent host that provides a short guided tour during the diners first experience or are you a top notch server guiding them through the product (menu) and pointing out key features (dishes) that you know they’ll like?  Are you asking for their feedback and opinions so you can tailor their experience as their time in the product (restaurant) moves on?

The first 30-60-90 days are critically important for Customer Success.  It’s what drives promoters of your product and ultimately additional revenue.  Think carefully about what you do to make your users first few experiences exceptional.