The old cliche goes: You only get one chance to make a first impression.
Cliches can be said so often that you stop thinking of its meaning when someone uses it. Though getting one chance to make a first impression is something that is particularly true.
If you do not grab someone’s attention the first time they visit your website, they may not subscribe to your newsletter or follow you on Facebook or Twitter. They may find your website again, but there is no guarantee. Therefore, it pays to get it right first time.
An Unexpected Fault
Making a first impression count is also true when you interact with someone the very first time.
Earlier this week, I introduced an monthly membership option on Rise Forums. Previously, people could only join by paying $97 for a year’s membership. Now they can sign up on a monthly basis for only $9.99. This lower entry point should attract more members.
Shortly after the announcement, someone signed up. They contacted me afterwards to advise me that they could not login correctly.
I logged in with their username and password and saw the strange problem that the member encountered. For some reason, they could login and see discussions, but could not post themselves. Nor could they modify their profile. The admin area was strange too. All permissions were set up correctly, but I could not modify the profile as it thought I was creating a new one.
It took me a few hours to figure out what was wrong. It turns out that accounts were not being created correctly after I upgraded the forum software a few weeks ago. The reason for this is that my member software was trying to add a profile field that had recently been removed. This resulted in the only one table row being created.
The only way to set everything back up again correctly was to delete the account that had been created, refund the member’s money and cancel their monthly subscription. Then I had to ask them to sign up again.
Making Things Right
There was no doubt that this was an inconvenience for them. Can you imagine paying to join a service and then not being able to login? I would be a bit annoyed. At the very least, I would have been unsure as to whether I had done the right thing by signing up.
Therefore, I gave the member a discount code for their first month off. A small gesture considering the frustration they must have felt.
It is always frustrating when something like this happens, particularly when it was not your fault. I think the most important thing is to ensure the customer is kept updated throughout so that they know you are doing the utmost to resolve the situation.
Bear this in mind when you are dealing with someone for the first time. It may be your only chance to impress them 🙂