Customer expectations continue to rise. Digital consumers want a faster, more personalized, and effortless "in the moment" experience and won't hesitate to move to your competitor to get what they want. Competition has never been greater - but the ability to stand...
Customer Journey Mapping – Part Two
Using Customer Journey Mapping to Build a Loyal Customer Base and Cheering Section
As discussed in the blog, Customer Journey Mapping Starts with Walking in your Customer’s Shoes, we covered many of the benefits of why mapping out your customer’s journey through your website is critical. Finding out where they stray off your optimal path is imperative to the success of your website—clearing the way to purchase is your ultimate goal but then what? In this blog, we will uncover how to build a loyal customer base and encourage these customers to sing your praises and, in essence, be an extension of your marketing department.
Let’s rewind a little. Here is a recap of the three stages of a buyer’s journey.
The customer is becoming aware of the problem they are facing, and they begin researching to find out how to solve the problem or pain point.
The customer is researching and looking for ways to solve their problem, finding all possible options to compare, so they have the optimal solution. Then, they weigh the pros and cons of each solution to determine their next steps in solving the problem.
The customer determines the shortlist of solution providers. They need to know that you can fulfill their needs. Your content should be about your company or product at this stage.
We have a purchase! We have met our ultimate goal. But, as we all know, it is much cheaper to keep a client than to acquire a new client. So, let’s explore two more stages essential to your marketing strategy’s success. The last two could be the most important of the five stages and the hardest to maintain. Customer Retention and Advocacy are the final two stages of the customer journey. If you are lucky enough to win over your customer’s loyalty and trust, you have opened the door to having a true advocate for your brand.
Customer Retention Stage 4
Customer retention is one of the most important things that a company can accomplish to ensure long-term success. According to an infographic from Invesp, the probability of selling to an existing customer is 60-70%, while the probability of selling to a new prospect is 5-20%.
Acquiring the right audience, to begin with, is essential to a successful marketing campaign. Be clear about your message so that there is no question about why they ended up on your website site. They have found what they are looking for with little effort. Understanding your audience and meeting their needs helps cement the relationship and keeps them coming back for more.
The 80/20 principle applies here, where 80% of the business is generated by 20% of your loyal customers. Some brands have boasted a 90/10 ratio. Acquiring new customers takes a vast amount of time, resources, and dollars to grow a company. According to research done by Frederick Reichhelp of Bain & Company, if you can keep just 5% more of your customers, you could increase your profits by 25% to 95%. So, when allocating your marketing spend, remember to put a little more effort and dollars into keeping your existing customer base.
Uncover what brings your customers back
Research has uncovered that customers listed their top reasons for making repeat purchases: fast shipping, easy returns, customer service expertise about the product, and, finally, personalization. Customer service was high on the list for customer satisfaction. A make or break point of most companies is their customer service department. They have the ability to set the tone for the entire company. We can all cite excellent and inferior customer service experiences from the brands from whom we frequently purchase products. Therefore, it is imperative to identify negative experiences that could result in a lost customer. It doesn’t take much effort to turn a bad customer experience around. A good customer service representative is worth their weight in gold. They are the front line in the battle against your competitors. Happy customers love to spread the word when they resolve a problem with a brand. Why wouldn’t they come back if they are assured that if a situation occurs, it will be taken care of to their satisfaction?
Go above and beyond for your existing customers
Nurturing existing customer relationships is essential to building a loyal following. In the digital world, we are all living, sometimes the human touch is needed to rise above the competitive landscape of your competitors. Look for ways to over-deliver to your customers. Share tips and tricks to help them succeed in their business or be a problem solver with the products they have purchased. Introduce them to your network of suppliers or followers. Help them grow so that they can, in turn, help you succeed through their referrals and positive reviews.
Key tips for engagement
Make sure you keep these loyal customers engaged. Encourage them to set up an account with your company to ease the purchasing process. Make it easy to subscribe to your newsletter and email campaigns. Keeping them informed about your products and services will make them feel like they are part of a long-term relationship. Above all, treat them like you would want to be treated.
When it all comes down to it, we are all consumers, which means we are customers to someone. That someone needs you to be a frequent buyer of their products to keep their company successful. If two products were the same, but one product was from a company you have done business with in the past, and they solved an issue, would you pay more for the product? According to the 2021 Achieving Customer Amazement report, fifty-two percent of 1,000 consumers surveyed said they would pay more. Not only that, but one in four would be willing to pay up to 10% more in almost all industries because they know they will get excellent customer service. One exception was in the hospitality industry, where 31% of the customers would pay up to 10% over, and 10% of the customers would spend over 30%.
Nothing beats a good customer review or a loyal customer’s recommendation of your product, service, or brand. How often have you changed your purchasing choice due to poor reviews? The people you are trying to attract are individuals who are willing to sing your praises. These advocates can be customers or even employees loyal to the brand and engage consistently with your posts by commenting or sharing them. In essence, keeping a customer and getting them to share their positive experience is the pinnacle of success for a brand. So let’s discuss the process to keep your hard-earned customer.
- Identify your VIP customers.
You must uncover who your VIP customers are. Not just about their spending habits but by their number of followers, ability to engage in social media, and willingness to refer your company or products to others. Customer onboarding is an integral part of developing successful advocates for your brand. Teaching them your brand’s core values helps your new brand ambassadors pass on the message. So please make it easy for them. Make sure they have all the information and materials needed to spread the word about your brand.
- Ask for feedback.
All customers have opinions. Both positive and negative. What is important to remember is that negative feedback is just as valuable, if not more so than positive feedback. This allows the brand to adjust, correct, or pivot if need be. Your loyal customer wants you to succeed. They are recommending your products to their friends and family and don’t want to disappoint. They are in it with you and will offer suggestions. All you have to do is ask.
- Personalize your message.
Making an effort to personalize the message to your customers, if done correctly, can boost your average revenue by 10-30%, according to McKinsey. Some ways to personalize your message could be to highlight the client’s favorite items list or items from past purchases and segment messages individually targeting their interests.
- Adding an additional body to your marketing team
Customer advocates can be an extension of your marketing team but without a paycheck. Every time they post a video or share a post or article, they give you free publicity. Depending on their following, this could make a significant impact. Everyone wants to feel secure in their purchase, and leveraging someone else’s experience is always helpful. It is important to make sharing your information about the brand easy for the advocate. Offer promotions and great deals to your advocates. Maybe even a rewards or loyalty program. Another winning formula is offering an introductory offer and an incentive.
Think of the first steps in a customer’s journey as a first date. The person seems nice, says all the right things, and you’re attracted to them. But come date three, the shine is off the apple. Do you stay with this person because it’s easy and status quo? Is this person appreciating you and treating you well? Do you have fun with them? Do they make an attempt to make you feel important and valued? That is precisely what your customers want. They want to feel valued and appreciated. If you treat them with significance, you might find that they will start walking in your shoes and forgive any missteps and errors that occur from time to time. They will feel like part of your team, that is, if they are treated that way.
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