What’s the point of all this marketing strategy and brand storytelling?
Sure, they help us succeed in running our business, getting the word out, and crafting our brand to project the image we want to project.
But what’s the one thing driving us to plan and spend money and strategize?
The answer is our customers.
We want to make our customers’ lives easier, because we believe we are uniquely positioned to offer them products and services that are better than anyone else can offer. Ultimately, customer success is our success.
Fostering customer success
When our products or services contribute to our customers’ success in alleviating their pain points and enriching their lives, those customers become loyal to our brand. The greater the success they experience, the greater the loyalty they feel, and not just to the product or service that made them so happy. Their loyalty will stretch to our business and open up exploration into our other products and services. If they find more to love about us than just the one thing that helped them, a relationship is born with that customer that’s worth its weight in gold.
Customer success is the pathway to brand ambassadorship
Word-of-mouth and user generated content are some of the hardest-won, most key pieces of a business’s marketing success.
We can blab all we want about how awesome and life-changing our products and services are, but customers know we have an end goal—to sell them something. However, if our existing customers are excited about what we’ve done for them, and they tell their friends or post on social media to their friends and followers, they have nothing to gain aside from earning their circle’s trust as a product recommender. They have no ulterior motive other than sharing this great thing they found with the people in their circle.
If they convince their followers to give our products or services a try, and those people have great success in the customer experience, the circle widens.
The louder our loyal customers become, the greater our success is, because the voices speaking out on our behalf–our brand ambassadors–are as authentic as they can be.
In a time when the din of voices has been raised to a cacophony, the voices most likely to be heard are the ones belonging to those who have nothing to gain by speaking out on our behalf.
But how do we get our customers to succeed?
So let’s reel in the grandiose plans for thousands of voices raised in a chorus of praise for our businesses for a minute.
How do we get there?
That sounds like a big ask, but in truth, the answer is really simple: you get there with one customer success at a time.
Each time a customer makes a purchase from your business, you have the opportunity to see them through to success. No longer is it enough to get them to the sale and say, “Enjoy,” as they leave, and you never know how they fared with your product or service. The customer life cycle has been extended to determine if your business really helped them alleviate their pain point.
A good strategy is to send out post-sale customer surveys. Make it easy for them to contact you if they have questions. Do your absolute best to provide easy-to-understand instructions for using your product. Give them everything they could possibly need to ensure their success with your product or service. And at the end, make posting a review of your product or service online as painless as possible.
For example, if you’re selling flat-pack furniture that has to be assembled, make sure at the point of sale that the customer is aware of your business’s mobile app with more detailed instructions, diagrams they can zoom in, and answers to frequently asked questions.
Case in point: IKEA.
IKEA is the butt of a running joke that putting together their furniture requires an engineering degree, a translator, and a construction company’s worth of specialized tools. If you’re competing with a behemoth like IKEA, perhaps making the assembly—largely considered the hard part of purchasing flat-pack furniture—as easy as possible will inspire your customer to tell their friends, “Don’t get your next bookshelf from IKEA. I got mine from Bob’s Best Bookshelves and More, and it was so easy. No swear words were uttered in the assembling of my bookshelf.”
Then, when the customer is sitting on the couch admiring the new bookshelf, and they go to close out the app that walked them through so efficiently, make the last step a link to post a review. They’re happy with both the purchase and the experience, and it’s the best possible time to request feedback. You’re more likely to get participation in your survey efforts when you’ve seen them through to their success.
Mine that data for further content
After a few customers have realized success with your business, their reviews and testimonials are ripe for mining gems for content on your website and social media. “What others are saying…” are some of the best ways to show potential customers that others have had success with your business, and perhaps they could, too.
And content isn’t just for new customers. Some of the most powerful content you can create can come from FAQs raised by existing customers. Put those answers out there for all to see. Address concerns raised by past customers so they know if there’s a problem, you’re taking their complaint seriously and are working to rectify it.
Sometimes loyalty comes from hard-won success of a customer experience. “I wasn’t thrilled with the product at first, but after some help from Bob, I now have a beautiful bookshelf that’s the centerpiece of my living room. Their customer service is unmatched, and if you’re not happy, they’ll make it right.”
This works especially well if your business is selling more expensive items.
Assuring customers that you understand how much your products cost, and if they need any assistance whatsoever, you’ll do your utmost to see them through the process. It makes it that much easier for them to take a chance on you.
One of the biggest pieces of advice we give at Bright Planning is to make your customer the hero in their buying journey. If their story ends in success, then the next customer is more confident you can help them, too.