I've argued in previous posts that Trust is a key factor when trying to convince an audience to read your content or buy your products and services - See the A-Z of eCRM A is for Ancient Greeks . No real surprise there.
I've also suggested that first impressions do count. Whether that be the content of your subject line or the landing page you direct people to - See the A-Z of eCRM G is for Gladwell.
And now a new report from ClickFox has suggested that indeed lasting first impressions are key to gaining loyalty and trust. 48% of customers indicated that the most critical time for a company to gain their loyalty is when they make their first purchase or begin service.
Only 1% of the customers indicated that a good time would be at the point where they are considering switching to a competitor. I would argue that also applies to win-back campaigns that target customers when they have not shopped with you a while. I regularly make use of those 'missing you' communications that include a tasty 20% off. Its not making me loyal. It's just buying my attention for a while.
But lets not assume that once you've made a good impression a Brand can take a foot off the pedal. I mentioned a while back about a great first impression that Space NK made with me when I signed up for their NDulge Rewards Program. Sign up was easy and I received my welcome email as I walked out of the store. I have to say however that since then I've been very disappointed. I didn't get my promised Birthday treat, and the email content has been geared towards my initial purchase - a gift for my fiancee - and not based on me - a man!
So although I do agree that first impressions do count, I would argue that every touch-point impression is an opportunity to to exceed expectations. But also an opportunity to slowly erode the trust and good will you originally gained.
ClickFox 2012 Brand Loyalty Survey available here (registration required)