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From Like to Love: The Customer Journey
The competition is relentless out there. There are so many options for consumers to choose from, yet somehow, the majority of us choose a brand and if we’re satisfied, then we stick with it. Why is that? Because in our eyes it gets the job done, and we can trust the brand we choose. Am I right?
When shopping for a product or service, the consumer, both consciously and subconsciously, evaluates a number of different aspects of the business as well as the product or service. It is in this evaluation that the company has one chance to make a lasting impression. This ‘first impression,’ if executed properly, will guide the consumer down the path from like to love.
For more on how to connect with your customers, check out this blog post: How to Make your Customers Love You
To break it down, I wanted to outline the phases that a consumer goes though from the minute they first make contact with a brand, to the point of no return and ultimate brand loyalty. Once I find a brand that fulfills my needs and that I can trust, there is no switching. Consistent quality, messaging that resonates with me, and a mutual understanding is what keeps me coming back for more. Let’s explore.
Phase One: Shop ‘til they drop
Just like dating, you don’t just commit to the first person you meet. You play the field to really find out what you want. The same goes with the brands you choose. You want the brand to resonate with you and provide the quality that is promised.
At this point, the customer is perusing websites, reviews, comparisons, and any other collateral out there. This is when making a great first impression is critical.
The best way to ensure a lasting first impression is to follow the following tips:
Read more about the customer experience in The Customer Experience Explained
Phase Two: Finding the one
After lots of time spent looking at the pros and cons of every option out there, the consumer finally comes to a point where they have chosen the company they want to do business with.
So now that you’ve made a good impression and passed all the tests, it is time to deliver on what you promised. Here are a few tips to start building a long-lasting relationship from the get-go:
Phase Three: Getting to know each other
The moment they purchase, they have made a commitment to you. They chose you. Now, don’t you think it is time to deliver? If you don’t, you will break their trust in you, and most likely will not keep them as a customer. If you concentrate on your customer retention rather than acquisition, then you build deeper relationships and eventually cultivate a tribe of brand advocates.
This is the time to show your commitment to the customer.
Phase Four: In it to win it
Once you have surpassed the “getting to know each other” phase of the journey, you reach the point where the customer is either going to continue to do business with your brand, or hit the road. If you have properly nurtured your new customers, and illustrated that you are on their team, then, most likely, they will continue to do business with you.
It is in this stage that you want to remain in contact with your customer, but not overwhelm them with emails, follow up and check-ins.
Phase Five: Shout it to the world
More often than not, customers will talk about the negative over the positive. The trick is encouraging them to become part of your loyal tribe. Word of mouth is the most effective and influential form of marketing—and the best part is that it occurs both online and offline. Essentially, word of mouth marketing is the best form of social media. Provide such an outstanding customer experience that your consumers want to tell all of their friends!
A Last Thought
How are your leads flowing through the sales journey? What sets you apart from your competition that makes your leads pick you over them? Form a statement that explains just that. Find the stage where your leads are leaving and make a change. Remember, your customer is your partner in business—work together to make that partnership last.