Customer experience can be defined as any interaction that your organization has with your customer. Thanks to industry disruptors like Amazon, what was once considered the best experience is now the expected experience. It’s not just from the likes of Amazon, but from every experience with every company whether you are a consumer or a buyer of business services or a product. In fact, because of this, customer experience has become one of the top strategic priorities within the C-suite.
Walker Information states that customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by 2020 and according to a study done by Capgemini, 80% of consumers are willing to pay more for better service. The same can be said with business to business.
From a sales and marketing perspective, there are several steps companies can take to improve their customer’s overall experience, and it starts by moving from a focus on the traditional sales funnel (pulling a prospect through buying stages in linear, purposeful ways) to what is being coined as the flywheel approach. The flywheel is a continuously cyclical experience that keeps prospects, customers and your biggest evangelists engaged through the momentum you’ve been building and continue to add to over and over again.
At this stage, the goal is to create content, shared digitally, that showcases your expertise and allows your audience to find you. Content should highlight problems your customers are facing and provide quick and easy solutions that you can offer.
Education content shared digitally is a next-step deeper level of content marketing. The goal here is to help them solve their problems and showcase your solutions in a cause/effect showcase.
This stage is all about the options you offer a specific customer. An important factor is understanding your customer’s demographics and needs for doing business with you. Typically, this is going to be more personal, often directly through email or even over the phone. By allowing 1:1 engagement to happen early and often, you’ll see a stronger response to the way you’re pushing your attraction and educational content. The overarching goal is to help grow personal relationships.
Providing content and touch points that validate their engagement with you is critical. People engage online for two reasons: because they need something and/or because it makes them feel good. By operating with a marketing purpose of ‘customer first,’ we can help validate their decisions and give peace of mind.
This stage also includes how a customer is made to feel in 1:1 communication. How quickly do you respond to emails and phone calls? How are they greeted when they call? Does the experience a customer have when they’re inside your company mimic the experience you’re creating and fostering online? These are all crucial questions to answer.
Use marketing automation tools to mark updated customers and note what line of business they’ve closed on. Then, you can re-engage them for future business and begin the process over again for additional business verticals and keep them updated on content in their current ‘bought-in’ vertical.
Once you’ve fine-tuned your stages, you can more easily create digital communications that improve the experience your customers have with your company.