The customer journey does not end at the bottom of the sales funnel. Technically, the job of the sales team ends once the customer is converted. But building customer loyalty is way beyond that. Nurturing and converting the lead takes a fair amount of time. It requires a herculean effort to turn the customer into a loyal one.
A loyal customer is a real asset to the company. Far more valuable than the bottom line of the quarterly reports of the spreadsheet. As they say, there is nothing like a repeat customer to measure your business growth.
Growing the business does not just mean acquiring customers ruthlessly, but making sure the customers stay because they love your brand. During uncertain times, these loyal customers will help you keep the business afloat. Sustainable growth is only possible when existing customers are the recurring source of your revenue.
Building Step-by-Step Customer Loyalty Journey
“It’s about the journey, not the destination.”
The above 19th-century quote is more relevant today than ever. The customer’s journey (process) is more important than the destination (conversion). But many companies, especially the sales team, do exactly the opposite.
The primary objective of the sales team is to convert the customer. In a bid to achieve their immediate goals, they often adopt ruthless methods. It may accelerate the customer journey throughout the sales funnel. But it hampers the overall customer experience.
Though urgency in closing a sale is an important factor, it should not come at the cost of a seamless customer experience. Do not turn the first touchpoint of customer interaction into a bloodthirsty sales opportunity.
The surest way to piss off the customer is forcing your products or services down their throat. To avoid this pitfall, map out the customer motivations in advance and understand their pain points carefully. Especially in a B2B sale where the customer is usually well-versed with the tricks of the trade, maintaining the sales instinct of Urgency Close without turning off the customer can be quite challenging.
Understanding the Customer’s Journey Through Data
The customer may not immediately buy from you. But it is a great opportunity for you to build deep customer relationships. Meanwhile, every interaction is a gold mine in collecting customer information. The more data you collect, the better clarity you have about the needs of the customers.
This data will help you in the process of creating a buyer’s persona. The significance of an effective buyer persona is undisputed in creating data-driven marketing strategies.
The buyer persona created with the data obtained during the interaction stage is very useful. This offers enough visual representation of your target customer. Customer journey mapping is an important tactic in the larger loyalty strategy. If you create a customer journey map, you will find the touchpoints that drive customer loyalty.
Engaging Customer Through Omni Channel System
Customers engage with you through different channels. Create an omnichannel experience of customer engagement by integrating all customer touchpoints including website, social media, email marketing, newsletters under a single platform. Make it easy for your customers to engage with you from a 360-degree channel system.
The drawback of a 360-degree engagement model can open Pandora’s box for irate customers. When millennials are irate about customer service, they do not hesitate to express their views. On social media, the probability of getting negative reviews is greater than a positive one. Negative reviews are expressed upfront as a customer complaint, while positive reviews are given out of generosity.
In addition to rewarding points for purchase, a points-based loyalty system can be incorporated for user-generated content which rewards points for posting good reviews, likes, shares, retweets, and so on. The customer journey through the entire sales funnel should be a smooth experience. Undoubtedly, an omnichannel experience offers seamless customer service and satisfaction.
Driving Customer Service With Empathy
Good customer service satisfies your customers, while great customer service makes them loyal. What separates great customer service from a good one? The answer is simple – Empathy.
Empathy is at the heart of great customer service. When they come to you with a problem, acknowledging their problem is the first step. Even if you are not able to help them, make sure you empathize with them. They must feel that their problems are being heard.
Research in psychology and neuroscience confirms that talking to someone about your problems while getting their acknowledgment helps. Even psychologists say that 80% of mental health issues can be solved with communication.
This works at all levels, even in professional communications. Our personal and professional lives are served by the same brain inside our heads, which always seeks external validation. When a customer support representative acknowledges the problem of the customer, it offers a feel-good factor that stays with them forever.
Every time they remember your brand, they remember the previous feel-good experience. They come to you again for the experience, and if you provide the same experience time and again, they will keep coming back. It can also work against you if they have a bad experience. But it serves as a catalyst for you to have zero tolerance for providing mediocre service.
Capitalizing on the Customer Experience
According to a study, 79% of marketing experts believe that customer experience plays a major role in retention and satisfaction. Prices or brand does not matter when the customer experience is the motivating factor. The principle of the loyalty customer journey is built around a great customer experience.
An established brand can lose its way to a lesser-known brand that offers a better customer experience. For example, Nokia lost its pinnacle position in the mobile phone market because it failed to match the customer experience offered by newcomers Samsung and Apple.
Android and iOS offered a far greater customer experience than Nokia’s Symbian platform. Instead of improving customer experience to compete with newcomers, Nokia relied too much on the power of its brand value. The brand carried it through for some time but eventually fell against companies that had a strong customer experience at their core.
That is why successful companies invest heavily in customer loyalty programs that facilitate a great customer experience.
Mapping Customer Journey to Design a Loyalty Program
Understanding the customer journey is a key component in designing an experience-based loyalty program. Customer experience is the primary factor to keep customers engaged with your brand. If you are looking for a Loyalty partner to help you design an omnichannel 360-degree loyalty strategy, Annex Cloud assists you to achieve your business goals.