Recently, The Cowboy did the sweetest thing. He gave me an early birthday present. And it was such a serendipitous act.
You see, for years I have wanted a computer-controlled cutting machine for crafts. For instance, I thought it would be fantastic to print and cut my own designs for paper crafts, such as scrapbooking, stickers, labels, and card-making.
On Saturday, The Cowboy asked me what I wanted for my birthday. I said he could perhaps contribute to a cutting machine. We sat in my office as I started to search online for the item. He suggested I check out Hobby Lobby.
Interestingly enough, Hobby Lobby had the cutting machine I wanted. Even better—it was on sale, specifically, 40% off! Their website said it was out of stock but to check with local stores. We ended up calling the store closest to us and were delighted to hear they had one left. It was in their office.
We went… we saw… we bought. And I was walking out the store with my brand new Silhouette Portrait 3, grinning like a kid on Christmas morning.
All I could think about was what I could create. Images of adorable cards and whimsical stickers danced through my head. For instance, I could finally create my own stickers for my organizers and more!
Okay… keep that image in your mind.
I was happy. Excited. I anticipated the results.
The Frustration of New Technology
So, we got home and waited until the next day to set up my new cutting machine. I connected the machine to the power source, downloaded the software from Silhouette’s website, installed the software, and connected the machine to my computer, according to the steps described on their website.
In short, I followed their directions, which included setting registration marks on your document when you print it with a regular printer. After printing a test label sheet with my inkjet printer, I was now ready to put it through the Silhouette to cut the labels.
And that’s when things got all wonky. Honestly, I was half-tempted to throw the new machine out the window.
These cutting machines are very sophisticated. There is brilliant technology when it comes to their calibration. I don’t understand it but have admired the results from other crafters.
We kept trying to move the label sheet to various positions, but the cutting command would fail each time. We knew the machine was trying to read the registration marks but for some reason, missed “seeing” them.
But the problem for me was the troubleshooting process.
A Good Troubleshooting Process Will Decrease Customer Frustration
Silhouette did not have on their website a troubleshooting item for our problem.
And I searched. I read the manual. I visited their website for common problems and how to fix them. Basically, I didn’t find an answer to what I suspected was a common issue for newbies who were cutting a design for the first time.
I went online and found a few sites with suggestions. We tried the suggestions without success. Finally, my husband moved the label sheet to match a guideline on the right (instead of the left).
Good night, I felt like the caveman who discovered fire. My husband then measured the 8.5×11 sticker sheet and found something amazing.
The sticker sheet was a tad wider than 8.5 inches… by 1/16th of an inch! That’s what I mean about calibration… it’s an extremely precise machine.
The point of telling you my crafting woes is to help you realize something.
No matter what business you’re in, you need to put yourself in your customer’s or client’s shoes.
Imagine What Your New Customer Experiences…
What are some of the problems a new customer or client may face?
Do you have an easy-to-access troubleshooting area for them? Is there a clearly defined help line to call? A contact department and process to onboard new clients?
A good way to figure out those niggling issues that can frustrate your new user is to pay attention to the complaints. Notice the kind that keep popping up. Because then you can create better ways to address them.
And give your new customer or client several options to get the answers they need. For instance, don’t just set up a FAQ page but offer email and phone support lines.
Because it still astounds me that a company as successful as Silhouette hasn’t done a better job to address common issues for “newbies.” There are many ways they could help. Such as:
- Include in each product box a printed manual and cards for easy access to online directions. Also include a card directing them to a “newbie” page on the website.
- Dumb it down… create a large navigational menu with “Newbies Start Here!”
- Work on your asset management. Weed out old web pages that no longer work. They only frustrate your customer when the links are outdated and lead to an error page.
- Consider having a new customer onboarding training class and include the sign-up information within your marketing materials.
- Create a fun and colorful “map” that walks a new customer through each step of using your product. Include contact information and a FAQ page for those who have questions. Update regularly your FAQ page.
Your Buyer Doesn’t Need the Frustration
Those are just a few ideas. I bet you could think of more.
You see, the bottom line is that when your customer first purchases either your product or service, they’re enthusiastic. They want to believe they make a good choice.
Your mission is to reassure them that yes, they made a great choice and here’s why… because you’re following up with them and answering questions they didn’t even know how to ask.
If you make your new customer or client feel welcomed and valued from the very start, you’ve made important steps toward keeping them.
As marketers and sales professionals already know—it takes more money to get a new customer than keep a current customer happy. Do whatever it takes to make sure your customers and clients continue to be satisfied with your business. And they’ll keep doing business with you.