Think your job is done when you’ve closed a sale? Actually, it’s just beginning.
Developing a customer experience strategy is often the most overlooked element in a company’s marketing plan. Many are so concerned about finding more leads, website traffic and completing more sales calls — typically the most expensive and time-consuming parts of marketing — that they forget to nurture their already-existing clients who are ready to receive support and give that support right back. You want your paid customers to be seen, heard and supported. Invest more in ensuring your existing clients can’t get enough of your brand.
Here are three reasons a customer experience strategy will be your most valuable marketing campaign.
1. It will be your most affordable campaign with a high return on investment.
According to a Forrester study surveying over 1,200 business leaders spanning eight industries and nine countries, businesses that fully implement a customer experience strategy see faster topline growth, higher brand engagement and more repeat purchases.
No matter what business you’re in, when you have current customers who are enjoying their experience, they are more likely to repurchase. This is when up-selling and cross-selling become effortless and affordable. No expensive ad buys or time-consuming sales calls required.
Harley Davidson is a classic example of a company that has made millions by focusing on customer experience. It has always remained true to the “freedom machine” core value, which keeps customers coming back generation after generation. Dollar Shave Club is a much younger company with a similar strategy, implementing convenient shipping and humorous packaging to a high-quality grooming product, garnering customers who’ve stuck around for years — and the company been in existence for less than a decade.
2. Happy customers help you stand out from the competition.
People who are researching products and services notice online reviews — good and bad. According to one study, the average consumer spends over 13 minutes reading reviews before purchasing. If your reviews are positive, they are much more likely to trust and purchase from you. Third-party reviews are usually seen as much more trustworthy than advertising.
3. You create brand advocates who sell for you and help you go viral.
People who love a brand love to share it with their friends — it’s like they discovered the next big thing. Or if there’s already a large brand following, then they get to join in on the conversation.
With his good vibes, skateboarding-to-Fleetwood Mac TikTok video, Nathan Apodaca is probably the most famous brand advocate at the moment — both for the band and Ocean Spray. This wasn't an intentional promotion— Apodaca just loves the song “Dreams” and Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry juice. As a result, his video has been viewed over 71 million times on TikTok alone. That’s a lot of free marketing! Also, Fleetwood Mac reported its best week ever on streaming, and Ocean Spray gave Apodaca a truck and a truckload of juice — all because of a 30-second video of a guy enjoying a moment in time with his favorite products.
You can create brand advocates by following these four action items:
1. Set expectations and be consistent.
What can your consumers expect once they purchase from you? How long does it take to receive your product? If they have an issue, how long will it take for you to help them?
If you sell via sales calls, keep the contact consistent after the final sales call, and be very transparent on how often you will be in contact with them. If you are reaching out to your potential consumers every day, and then they purchase and don’t hear from you for five days after trying to reach you, they're not going to feel great about their purchase.
2. Give them a great experience, not just what they expect.
When you give your consumers what they expect, they feel satisfied. When you give consumers way more than what they expect, they become surprised and delighted! They feel the love and, in turn, will give that love back.
This could look like sending them welcome gifts or a bonus product or service, or just giving them outstanding customer service (like Apodaca and his truck from Ocean Spray). Of course, you don't have to give someone a car. It can be something small and thoughtful like a thank you card.
3. Ask for, listen to and act on feedback.
If you are truly in the business of serving others, you should constantly be trying to improve your business. To do that, you need to proactively ask for feedback, be open to feedback and base your improvements around the appropriate feedback.
4. Reward loyalty.
Give incentives for consumer-generated content. If they share a social media post about you, repost and respond with a thank you. Mick Fleetwood posted his own video on TikTok imitating Apodaca’s and created a contest to incentivize others to do the same — making sure his song stayed viral while giving the best possible shout-out to his fan.
When they give you referrals, give them something back in exchange. When you reward them for doing something nice for you, they will want to keep doing nice things. The most important of all is that giving your customers a stellar experience turns them into brand advocates.
When you commit to the entire journey, your customer will too.
A great consumer experience must last the entire journey. Fleetwood Mac and Ocean Spray have been around a long time for a reason and recently have seen a huge viral boost due to their continued efforts in exceptional customer experience. Harley Davidson remains one of the giants in this realm just by committing to its messaging, and Dollar Shave Club is the newer kid on the block that has figured out how to make grooming fun — keeping their customers for the long term.
No matter what you’re selling, follow these guidelines to create meaningful customer experiences for the entire journey, post-sale and beyond.