Do you know how your customers are really treated by your business?
A solid understanding of your customers journey with your business is more important than ever before. The entire customer experience has become the new competitive edge.
Put simply, the buyer’s journey refers to the interactions that your customers have with your business all the way through your business relationship – from very their first contact, to post sale.
Typically “marketing” ends with the purchase. Customer Service takes over after the purchase. But there’s a lot of other touchpoints along the way.
If they are attracted to your promotions, they like what they see on your website or brochure or at your event, they like the way you speak to them, they see the value you’re offering and the price is right – then they’ll buy.
When Your Marketing Efforts Unravel
Yet often it’s what happens after the sale which will determine if that customer will buy from you again, or refer you to others. If the customer experience is not good at every single step, it’s enough to make them leave – and share their disappointment widely on social media. This not only affects your repeat business and referral business from that customer, but it can also affect potential sales from other people.
I know I’m guilty of doing this, as most of us are. What do I mean?
My Recent Customer Journey Experience
My husband and I have been with an insurance company for many years. We’re loyal customers, paying our premiums on time, putting all our insurance with this one company, recommending them wholeheartedly to our friends.
Their advertising attracted us, their sales people were not pushy but empathetic and extremely helpful. Their premium prices were good, the insurance products good – everything hunky dory.
Until our house was robbed and trashed, and both our cars stolen whilst we were on holiday.
Where it Went Pear-Shaped
At first, the claims people were sympathetic on the phone and took down all the details. Then we were handed off to staff from their parent company who took over and handled the assessing and processing of the claims. The staff from the parent company had a completely different culture and method of dealing with customers.
- The home and contents assessor was rude and demanded that we be available at 7.30 in the morning for her visit. This didn't suit us and she wasn't happy about having to come at a time which suited us.
- The staff in charge of making the payouts were located in India and could hardly speak English. We could not understand much of what they were saying.
- They kept ringing my husband at work whilst he was on his knees laying carpet, demanding answers to their questions, despite the fact we had given them my contact details several times and explained that I had all the details they needed and not to disturb him.
- They argued with me over the name of my bank and told me I had my bank’s name wrong (the bank changed their name 10 years ago)
- They repeated my answer to every question 3 times, and what should have taken 10 minutes took nearly an hour – with every call.
- If they couldn’t contact either of us, they would leave a number for us to call which went to a recorded message with no way to leave a message or speak to anyone. We just had to hope they would call back.
- Weeks and weeks later they paid us in several payments, some into bank accounts, and some by cheque – who uses cheques these days?
- We lost close to $40k worth of items, and received only $18k.
- Interestingly the insurance company has no social media presence or are listed on review sites, making it hard to warn others about them
In the end – this experience with the parent company staff made us cancel all our insurance policies and go with a competitor. All their careful marketing and great customer service was unraveled in an instant – mainly because of officious, rude, inept staff at the parent company.
Not only has this insurance company lost a long term loyal client, and several thousand dollars in future insurance premiums, my scathing reviews on social media and review sites, and to our family and friends, have discouraged others from placing their insurance with them.
How to Test Your Customer Journey
A smart way to design and implement a seamless and satisfactory Customer Experience across your entire business is to forget about departmental silos and to think like a customer, by mapping typical customer journeys across all physical and digital channels.
Put yourself into the shoes of your potential customers and test the journey yourself – or even better, get a friend or two to do it for you and report to you on their experience at every touch point.
16 Touch Points to Review and Test
- Are your ads and promotions congruent with the website page you send them to? Eg: If you promote a special offer on social media or Google Adwords, then make sure you send them to a page on your website that has details of that offer . Don’t send them to your home page and make them hunt for it.
- Does your website have all the answers to the questions they might have about your services or your special offer?
- Do you make it easy for them to find everything on the website – no matter what device they’re using?
- If they call – how quickly is the phone answered, how is it answered, can they get the right help straight away?
- If they email – how long do you take to reply?
- Do you allow customers to contact you through their preferred communication mediums - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Webchat?
- What are the hours you advertise that you’re open, and what’s the reality? Does it suit your customers?
- When you provide pricing or a quote – does it provide exact details of what is covered and what isn’t?
- Do you make it easy for them to pay, by offering a variety of methods?
- Do you make it easy to get a refund or rectification if they’re not happy?
- How quickly do you deliver the purchased product or service and does it meet with their expectations?
- Are your terms easy to understand, or legal gobbledegook, or printed so small that no-one can read them without a magnifying glass?
- Do all the customer facing team members have access to the customer’s details – or do they have to be transferred to several people before they can get an answer?
- Do all the members of your team speak to your customers in a respectful and courteous manner, even if they’re debt collecting or settling claims or undertaking repairs?
- Are all your written communications (emails, letters, invoices, website) written in a friendly and courteous way?
- Do you ignore your customers once the transaction has been completed, or do you continue to build the relationship so they will become loyal long term customers?
When you test every “touch point” in your customer’s journey – you might be very surprised by what you find.
Only when you’re satisfied that your customers are truly receiving a wonderful experience all the way through – can you be assured that your marketing to get new customers will deliver a worthwhile ROI.
Coming up, we will look at some of the key 2017 marketing trends that will help you plan this year’s marketing, and improve your customers’ journeys with you.