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Creating Delightful First Experiences for New Customers

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Mark Wilkinson's picture
SVP Products Ibex Digital

Helping utilities and their customer experience teams transform customer journeys,  decode customer insights  and enhance revenues for nearly 15 years.  At Ibex, I lead the teams delivering...

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  • Aug 26, 2020
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Customers’ first experience with a brand sets the tone for the entire customer relationship.  Retailers refer to this consumer psychology as the "law of primacy," and it suggests that the first brand experience establishes strong sentiments and predispositions that influence long term customer perception of a brand.

Consumer brands understand that the initial experience sets up the customer relationship for long term success.  A great first experience with a brand leaves consumers with an impression that no other company could live up to that experience, and encourages loyalty and advocacy.  By contrast, a bad first experience means companies must over-deliver on follow up engagements just to erase the “bad taste” customers first received.  

And, the bar for digital experiences keeps getting higher thanks to CX advancements by innovative brands.  Since utilities share their customers with Amazon, Apple, Google, and Netflix, the race to transform the CX continues accelerating.

What does your New Energy Start experience tell your newest customers?  If your new customer experience just makes it easy to set up utility services, the CX only meets the lowest expectations of your customers.  Getting to enrollment in the fewest clicks or calls may complete a customer task, but does nothing to inspire engagement or loyalty.  Acquia’s consumer study tells us that customers expect convenience AND personalization in their experience, across all of their channels of choice.  It’s no longer enough to complete an online enrollment or a brief enrollment call.  Customers want to know that the companies they engage with connect with their experience.

Delighting customers in that first experience means delivering more benefits, which amplifies the positive perception of your company.  Consider the needs of a new customer.  It’s likely they are moving between residences, even to a new area entirely.  And, the call to a utility is just the first in a series of steps customers need to complete to get settled in their new home.  Helping the customer set up Internet and TV service in their new residence, or offering a bundle with a repair plan to protect against the costs of unexpected repairs delivers the value-add experience that “wows” new customers and sets the tone for a satisfying customer experience.  Any service that makes that move a little easier or the transition to a new location more comfortable amplifies the positive perception of the customer’s new utility, and increases CSAT.

And, customers who have a “WOW” type of first experience will be the most likely to open follow up emails, buy additional products and services, and promote their impressions on social media, enthusiastically.  Imagine the benefits of a new generation of highly engaged and very satisfied customers on future utility CSAT reports.

It doesn’t take a lot to deliver those “WOW” moments to customers at nearly every stage of the customer journey, but no milestone has a bigger impact than a delightful first experience.  Building a convenient, personalized and supportive experience across the channels your customers most use just requires a bit of time to understand their experience, and taking a few steps to delivering extra value.  Based on our experience, customers reward their favorite companies and brands with enthusiastic loyalty and reviews, not to mention higher CSAT and ongoing digital engagement.

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