We’re truly in the Age of the Digital Customer and with all the readily available choice and information comes growing expectations - which the pandemic has only accelerated further. The customer is in control and we must impress them by being an easy and enjoyable vendor to work with. In other words, The Age of the Digital Customer demands the Customer Experience Era.
In this series of blogs, I’ll look at all the pieces we need today to provide a great Customer Experience. And how to be the vendor that buyers and existing customers are delighted to do business with!
Here’s what I’ll cover in my Customer Experience Era series:
- Fans like Frictionless interactions
- The Feedback Loop to design great customer journeys
- Functions of responsibility (Whose job is it anyway?)
In today’s blog, I’ll explore why providing a frictionless experience is the key to creating a loyal army of fans. And, most importantly, how to do so!
Why Customer Loyalty Is So Important
We’ve all heard that acquiring customers is substantially more expensive than retaining existing ones. (It’s a staggering 6 to 7 times more). The true benefits of loyal customers extend much further, though, especially now we’re in the digital customer era. Today’s customers are armed with more choice, more information and the power for their word of mouth to go viral.
When you focus on creating happy and loyal customers, the benefits are far-reaching and significant:
- Acquiring a new customer can cost 6 to 7 times more than retaining an existing customer. (Bain and Co.)
- Bain & Co also found that a boost of just 5% in customer retention rates can increase a businesses’ profits from 5% to a huge 95%.
- Another study by The Loyalty Effects found similar: building loyalty with 5% more customers would increase average profit per customer of between 25% and 100%. (The Loyalty Effect)
- According to Gartner Group, as much as 80% of your company’s future revenue will come from just 20% of your existing customers.
Why Reducing Friction Is The Key To Happier Customers
But how can we reduce customer churn? And more importantly, how can we create a loyal army of fans, not just customers that are merely satisfied enough?
It’s all about providing a frictionless experience - and removing anything that could possibly prevent your prospects and existing customers from experiencing a smooth customer journey.
The traditional sales funnel ended when the sale was made. This is outdated thinking. Instead, we need to focus just as much on how we can delight our customers post-sale and keep them. When we do this, our customers have the potential to become valuable brand advocates – the most powerful marketing tool effort we have.
How To Remove Friction For B2B Customers
Each time a customer connects with any aspect of our brand — whether it’s marketing content, social media channels, customer support team, salespeople, tech support or account managers – it must be a positive experience.
If the experience isn’t positive then we know that a customer is more likely to switch to another brand. In fact, according to GetFeedback, 33% of customers will consider switching brands after just one poor experience.
So how do you remove friction throughout the customer journey?
Provide An Omnichannel Communication Experience
There are so many ways that we can now communicate with customers. From the traditional phone and email to texts, live chats, social – even bots, and more in-between. What works best for one customer may not work for another.
A recent survey from Salesforce showed that 40% of customers won’t do business with companies that don’t use their preferred communication method. Therefore, it's vital that we ask our customers how they like us to communicate with them for their unique needs.
Track All Interactions For Seamless Interactions
With so many digital touchpoints on the buyer journey, we need to ensure that our customers feel valued and understood by tracking all their interactions with us. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to repeat our story to a different person at the same organisation.
Create Timely, Personalised Content That Helps, Not Hinders
With so much available content, buyers need a mixture of self-serve content and personalised content as they move through their journey.
According to Demand Gen’s B2B report 2019, this is what buyers want from content:
- 70% of B2B buyers ranked “relevant content that speaks directly to our company” as “very important”.
- 96% of B2B professionals considered messaging that “spoke directly to our industry needs” to be important.
- 91% of buyers rank “easy access to content without long forms” as important
When you create helpful content, you become a trusted advisor for your customers and gain a significant advantage over your competitors.
Get Your Customers’ Feedback
Asking customers for their feedback on a regular basis is vital to identify what they need and how we can improve the overall experience. Customer feedback also helps us think about how we can grow and adapt as a business.
Our customers provide feedback in several less formal ways when interacting with us throughout their journey – often in more valuable ways than what they will tell us directly.
Across the whole organisation, we must adopt a ‘Customer First’ approach and absolutely avoid complacency. Focusing on removing the friction does that. In the next two blogs in this series, I’ll explore how to do so in more detail.