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Customer Journey: From Funnel to Circle

Posted by Tom Smith on Tue, Sep, 16, 2014 @ 10:09 AM

customer journey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

McKinsey & Company noted the change in 2009. The customer journey is no longer a funnel, it's a circle.

 

The traditonal purchase funnel of: awarness, familiarity, consideration, purchase and loyalty has been made obsolete by the internet and social media.

 

In today's digitally driven marketplace, the customer journey is more like a circle with four phases: initial consideration, active evaluation, closure and post-purchase.

 

In order to provide customers and prospects with information of value, you need to know where they are in the journey and what information they want at that particular point in the journey.

 

Begin mapping the customer journey by understanding all of the places your customers go for information before they ever interact with you -- search engines, social media, reviews, other online channels.

 

Understand what information the customer is trying to get at each touchpoint and strive to provide some information of value at that touchpoint.

 

The more information of value you provide, the more awareness and trust you build with your prospective customer.

 

Engage with customers during the pre-shopping, decision-making process. Do what you can to simplify their life, save them time and make a confident, well-informed decision.

 

When mapping the customer journey, make sure you are able to indentify barriers to the purchase process.

 

If you're able to remove the barriers, you've just simplified the buying journey, and the customer's life.

 

I buy running shoes from an online retailer. I'm also a "VIP" so I can get discounts and free shipping. However, this site is unable to recognize my VIP membership so I always end up having to call them to order what I want. A major barrier.

 

So far, they've overcome the barrier by being available by telephone; however, at some point, I'll just buy from Zappos since they are the masters of providing an outstanding customer experience.

 

Don't forget to follow-up after the sale to ensure your customer is happy with their purchase and that your product or service is solving the problem your customer purchased it to solve.

 

This follow-up is critical to ensuring satisfaction, building loyalty, obtaining feedback and referrals -- online and in person.

 

Don't assume you know the customer journey. Once you've mapped it, share your perceived customer journey with a few of your best customers and get their insights on what they really do and where they experience barriers in the process.

 

What have you learned by mapping the customer journey?

 

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Tags: dialogue, loyalty, consumer insights, customer satisfaction, satisfied customers, customer journey, referrals

5 Reasons to Provide an Outstanding Customer Experience

Posted by Tom Smith on Wed, Sep, 10, 2014 @ 10:09 AM

Outstanding customer experience

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Temkin Group (#btemkin) just published the results of its research, the ROI of Customer Experience, 2014.

 

In it, they share the five benefits of providing an outstanding customer experience:

 

  1. Loyalty

  2. Repurchasing

  3. Willingness to try new products

  4. Forgiving mistakes

  5. Recommending your product or service to a friend or colleague (a.k.a., referrals)

Based on a study of companies in 19 industries, companies that provide an outstanding customer experience have a net promoter score (NPS) that's an average of 22 points higher than those companies that do not provide an outstanding customer experience.

 

In addition, by modeling the revenue of the companies with their NPS score, The Temkin Group projected that companies that continue to provide an outstanding customer experience will see significant greater revenue growth, than their competitors, in these three industries:

 

  • Hotels = 46%
     
  • Fast food = 44%
     
  • Retail = 43% 

 

Are you and your company committed to providing an outstanding customer experience?

 

Are you using net promoter score (NPS) to measure loyalty and increase revenue?

 

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Tags: outstanding customer experience, loyalty, net promoter score, referrals, NPS

2014 Retail Emotional Loyalty and Customer Engagement Leaders

Posted by Tom Smith on Mon, Feb, 17, 2014 @ 10:02 AM

emotional loyalty and customer engagement

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The 18th annual 2014 Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index (CLEI) has been published by Brand Keys.

 

The survey looks at emotional engagement expectations relevant to "brand buzz," "shopping experience," and "value for the dollar" as the strongest influences on consumer decision making and engagement with brands.

 

According to Brand Keys, meeting expectation for the category ideal correlates with brand engagement, purchase loyalty and sales.

 

Companies that are more emotionally-driven are likely to have higher expectations that grow faster while more rational categories have lower expectations and move more slowly.

 

This is vastly more complex than Net Promoter Score (NPS) which uses just one question, likelihood to recommend, to measure a company's performance through their customers' eyes. Like CLEI, there's also a strong positive correlation between a company's NPS score and it's financial performance.

 

Following are the emotional and engagement leaders for the 2014 retail category:

  1. Apparel -- Victoria's Secret = 81%

  2. Athletic Footwear -- Nike = 91%

  3. Department -- Macy's = 80%

  4. Discount -- Walmart = 93%

  5. Home Improvement -- Home Depot = 87%

  6. Natural Foods -- Whole Foods = 90%

  7. Online -- Amazon.com = 93%

  8. Price Clubs -- Sam's = 94%

  9. Sporting Goods -- Dick's = 83%

 

I find it interesting that Costco is behind Sam's even though Costco's 78% NPS score leads the retail industry.

 

I am not surprised that Zappos is number four behind Amazon.com since it falls consistently behind it's owner. However, I find Zappos delivers a far surperior customer experience. Zappo's will talk to you as a human being. Amazon will only correspond via automated, or impersonal, email.

 

Lastly, it is interesting that Trader Joe's is number three behind Whole Foods even though it leads the NPS grocery category with an NPS score of 63%

 

Granted CLEI and NPS are apples and oranges. It would be interesting to see if the financial performance of the high-performing CLEI companies is equal to or greater than high-performing NPS companies.

 

Regardless, differentiating your brand on customer service, providing an excellent customer experience (#cx) and delivering on your promise increases customer loyalty and engagement and is a smart business strategy and a great way to keep customers for life.

 

Want to Accelerate Sales? Download the Free e-book

Tags: customers for life, loyal customers, loyalty, satisfied customers, customer engagement

Loyal Employees = Loyal Customers

Posted by Tom Smith on Mon, Jan, 13, 2014 @ 06:01 AM

loyal employees = loyal customers

 

 

 

 

 

 

There's a strong positive correlation between satisfied customers and satisfied employees.

It's easy to get so involved in the tactics, metrics and technology of loyalty programs that the most important part - the human aspect and their emotional connection to the brand - gets neglected.

The CRM technology involved is a marvelous tool - without it, loyalty programs would not be possible.

But we must remember that loyalty, and its opposite, the desire to simply walk away, are both intensely human emotions.

Unless the program generates an emotional connection with the brand, it won't work.

We must also remember that humans aren't as predictable as technology.

Actions that might make one person loyal could well turn off someone else.

It even more complicated -- something that engenders loyalty in someone on one day might do the opposite on another day.

Customers are human, and loyalty is a strong emotional link.

Who is more qualified than customers to tell us what customers want, and what they don't want? That's why it's critical to have an ongoing dialog with your customers.

One thing is certain, building loyalty will not get any easier with the advent of social media.

While advances in technology have made loyalty programs more effective, accurate and appealing to customers, these same advances have made it much easier for customers to switch suppliers.

Comparisons of stock, prices, trading policies, delivery times and costs are now only a click away from customers.

If the item is to be shipped to a customer, do they care from where it comes? No, just that it was delivered for no additional charge. Zappos has set a very high bar.

Many suppliers are equally trustworthy and reputable. Your firm must have some unique property that differentiates you from your competitors.

All other things being equal, a good loyalty program can do that.

A Loyal Employee is More Valuable Than a Loyal Customer

Employees are also human, and they bond emotionally with your customers.

The virtuous circle of "customer - employee - shareholder - customer" has become well-known in loyalty marketing.

These groups go together and if the loyalty or even cooperation of any of the groups is lost, the chain breaks.

To be completely successful, they must all work together, supporting each other, to build strong relationships.

According to Frederick Reichheld, the father of the Net Promoter Score (NPS), "the only way a company can build a loyal customer base is by building committed relationships with the employees responsible for serving those customers."

In fact, "loyalty leader" companies identified by Reichheld out-performed their competitors by a factor of 2.2 in the stock market.

Recent research shows top executives are not only realizing the value of employee loyalty, but actually doing something about it.

It would seem that while there is no shortage of businesses that pay lip service to employee loyalty - even featuring it prominently in their company policy - fewer actually have procedures in place that emanate through the business right down to the bottom and exert a real effect.

The days when management could expect undying loyalty simply because they have employed someone have gone forever.

Add to that the fact that in many cases, it's actually the employees near the bottom of the ladder - those who are often treated most poorly and are underpaid - that have most personal interaction with customers, and it becomes clear there is a problem.

Without loyalty to the business there won't be enthusiasm at the customer-facing level, and that's enough to nullify very expensive marketing programs that are intended to show customers how important they are.

In this time of cost-cutting resulting in employee cutbacks, fewer employees are being asked to do more and more work and, quite understandably, are becoming demoralized and discontented.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for managers to maintain the loyalty of their employees.

And, the level of employee loyalty is influenced by factors other than those within an organization.

For instance, the state of the general job market has a major effect on whether employees change jobs frequently or not. As more jobs open up, the opportunities to defect increase.

So how should top management approach the challenge of increasing the loyalty of employees?

Empower Employees to Get Insights Download the Free e-book

Tags: emotional connection to the brand, loyal customers, loyalty, earn your customers trust, empower employees, loyal employees

Loyal Employees = Loyal Customers

Posted by Tom Smith on Fri, Oct, 18, 2013 @ 06:10 AM

loyal employees = loyal customers

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good insights from The Wise Marketer on the correlation between satisfied customers and satisfied employees.

It's easy to get so involved in the intricacies and technicalities of loyalty programs that the most important part - the human aspect - gets neglected.

The technology involved is a marvelous tool - without it, loyalty programs as we know them would not be possible.

But we must remember that loyalty (and its opposite, the desire to simply walk away) are both intensely human emotions. And, unless the program generates an emotional connection with people, it won't work.

We must also remember that humans aren't as predictable as technology.

Actions that might make one person loyal could well turn off someone else. It gets even more complicated: something that could engender loyalty in someone on one day might do the opposite on another day.

Customers are human, and loyalty is a strong emotional link.

Who is more qualified than customers to tell us what customers want, and what they don't want?

One thing is certain, building loyalty will not get any easier. While advances in technology have made loyalty programs more effective, accurate and appealing to customers, these same advances have made it much easier for customers to switch suppliers.

Comparisons of stock, prices, trading policies, delivery times and costs are now readily available to customers. And if the item is to be sent to them, do they care from where it comes?

Many suppliers are apparently equally trustworthy and reputable.

It is important to have some unique property that makes you stand out from the crowd. All other things being equal, a good loyalty program can do just that.

A loyal employee is more valuable than a loyal customer...

Employees are also human, and they bond emotionally with your customers.

The virtuous circle of "customer - employee - shareholder - customer" has become well-known in loyalty marketing.

These groups go together and if the loyalty or even co-operation of any of the groups is lost, the chain breaks.

To be completely successful, they must all work together, supporting each other, to build strong relationships.

According to Frederick Reichheld, the father of the Net Promoter Score, "the only way a company can build a loyal customer base is by building committed relationships with the employees responsible for serving those customers."

In fact, "loyalty leader" companies identified by Reichheld were seen to out-perform their competitors by a factor of 2.2 in the stock market.

Recent research supports the view that top executives are not only realizing the value of employee loyalty, but actually doing something about it.

It would seem that while there is no shortage of businesses that pay lip service to employee loyalty - even featuring it prominently in their company policy - fewer actually have procedures in place that percolate through the business right down to the bottom and exert a real effect.

The days when management could expect undying loyalty simply because they have employed someone have gone forever.

Add to that the fact that in many cases, it's actually the employees near the bottom of the ladder - those who are often treated most poorly and are underpaid - that have most personal interaction with customers, and it becomes clear that there is a problem.

Without loyalty to the business there won't be enthusiasm at the customer facing level, and that's enough to nullify very expensive marketing programs that are intended to show customers how important they are.

In this time of universal cost-cutting resulting in employee cutbacks, fewer employees are being asked to do more and more work and, quite understandably, are becoming demoralized and discontented.

It is becoming increasingly difficult for HR managers to maintain the loyalty of their employees.

And of course, the level of employee loyalty is influenced by factors other than those within an organization.

The state of the general job market has a major effect on whether employees change jobs frequently or not. As more jobs open up, the opportunities to defect increase.

So how should top management approach the challenge of increasing the loyalty of employees?

 

Empower Employees to Get Insights Download the Free e-book

Tags: loyalty, net promoter score, connecting emotionally with customers, empowered employees

Emotional Connection, Not Points = Loyalty

Posted by Tom Smith on Tue, Sep, 03, 2013 @ 06:09 AM

Emotional connection = loyalty

 

Loyalty programs are ubiquitous. But how effective are they?

If you agree with the premise that every consumer is unique and different, it's difficult for generic loyalty programs to be very effectve with individual customers.

To be truly effective, loyalty programs need to offer something of more value to customers than just another discount.

Customers become conditioned to, and begin to expect, discounts.

Customers are more interested in an exceptional customer experience than a plastic card.

In order for a customer to be loyal to your brand they must have an emotional connection to your brand.

If they have an emotional connection to your brand, they want to see you succeed and they want to help you succeed.

However, to earn the loyalty of a customer, there is reciprocity involved. You must recognize the customer and be loyal to them as well.

Customers want to be recognized and acknowledged. They want to know you appreciate their business.

Not all customers want the same thing. Find out what a customer wants and needs by asking them. Have a dialogue with them.

Do you want to have a "customer for life?" If so, let the customer know that and ask them what it will take for you to continue to provide them with products or services.

Know what the customer wants and deliver it, on a consistent basis. Ocassionally, over deliver. A loyal customer will notice the extra effort and reward you with more business or more loyalty. They'll tell their friends, famliy and business associates about you because they want to see you succeed.

The more dialogues you have, the more positive experiences you, and your employees provide, the greater the emotional connection to your brand will be.

The greater the emotional connection, the greater the revenue, repeat business and lifetime value of the customer.

Every customer is different.  Your job, find out how each customer wants to be treated and treat them that way.

Do this and you'll have customers for life.

What do you do to build an emotional connection with your customers?

 

Want to Accelerate Sales? Download the Free e-book

Tags: dialogue, emotional connection to the brand, customers for life, loyal customers, outstanding customer experience, loyalty