Category: Customer Experience

Attracting high-value clients Start with the end in mind

Attracting high-value clients Start with the end in mind

 

Research by American Express has found that companies that invest in Customer Experience Design can expect a 70% return on investment over a 3 year period. This is because companies who put an emphasis on customer experience design, increase sales and profitability while reducing churn rates.  

 

So what does this mean? It means there’s more than just your traditional marketing approach if you want high-value clients; it takes deliberate client experience designing through comprehensive research and careful planning before any changes can be made. 

 

But where do we start with all this information? Well, one place would be by creating a vision statement specific for your company and ideal clients.  Your client vision will become your guiding light when faced with tough questions and situations.  The vision will influence your company principles and behaviours which are necessary to deliver the vision. A clear vision creates consistency in how you and your team deal with your ideal clients.  

A good vision should:

  • Make an emotional connection with clients and employees;
  • Provide a compelling value proposition that differentiates the company from competitors and shows it understands what clients want;
  • Be simple and intuitive – concisely states the purpose and is easy to understand
  • Demonstrate commitment and set clients’ and employees’ expectations.

Do you have a clear client vision that every member of your team knows and lives on every day?  Imagine what would happen when you and your team all start singing from the same hymn sheet when it comes to delivering for your clients.  

If you need help with creating the ideal client persona or you are ready to Amplify Your Business so that your life can be more fulfilling, then book your free strategy call with me today. 

During this 45 minutes online session, we will chat about what goals and challenges that interest you most in regards to your business and brainstorm a way of addressing those issues immediately!

 

XXXOdette

Put it to work!

In the last post, we talked about how to conduct word of mouth research and then put that research to work. Today we’re going to give you some great tried and true ways to use word of mouth when building and executing your campaign.

We’ve done it in a list form, so you can go through and highlight the ones you want to put into action. These are offered by George Silverman which you can find in his amazing book The Secrets of Word of Mouth Marketing.

Here they are:

  •   Give them something worth talking about
  •   Cater to your initial customers shamelessly
  •   Give them incentives to engage in word of mouth
  •   Ask them to tell their friends
  •   The customer is always right
  •   Always tell the truth
  •   Surprise the customers by giving them a little more than they expected
  •   Give them a reason to buy, make them come back and refuse service from anyone else other than you
  •   Make eye contact, and smile, even on the telephone
  • Continue reading “Put it to work!”

Decoding WOM messages

Today’s lesson will talk about how word of mouth messages are delivered and how you can influence those messages.

There are essentially 3 methods of word of mouth:

  • Expert to Expert
  • Expert to Peer
  • Peer to Peer

When experts are talking about your products or service you will usually receive an amazing rush of sales and new customers, so obviously this is one of the best things that can happen. You can also help to facilitate this by offering free products to experts for them to review.

Expert opinion can also bring about new ideas that help to fuel new products, services and operating systems within your company. If you take the time to change or develop the opinions of even a small group of experts, you will have the opportunity to help your market explode.

There is a standard word of mouth delivery system that, in most cases, takes a few years. But, you can speed this up into only a few weeks. The standard system is:

  • First impressions from an expert
  • Organised trial of your products or services
  • Pooling peer experiences

It’s important to know exactly who is advocating for your products and services. Take the time to find out who they are and reward them. While you may already have a customer service system for filing complaints, do you have one for compiling praise? Most likely not. If you take the time to show these people appreciation, they will help take your products and services to the top. 

  • Some of the ways you can show them appreciation are:
  • Invite them to a customer appreciation dinner
  • Offer to record their testimonials
  • Ask to interview them for feedback to improve
  • Offer them a premier customer membership
  • Ask them to join a referral incentive program

There are lots of things you can offer your biggest fans to help spread the word about your products and services. 

Conventional media has been around forever and while it can still be effective, it’s lost a little of its lustre over the last few years. There are a few reasons for this:

  • Expensive and doesn’t necessarily return results
  • Boring, lacking something fresh and new
  • Too short of a time slot to offer enough information

While these are all true, there are ways you can make conventional media work for you. For the information to be effective, it needs to be presented in the right sequence, comes from the right sources, be relevant to the target customer, be credible and be delivered at the right time in the medium. 

We’re going to switch gears a little and talk about the two phases of the product adoption cycle. Traditional media is great for taking you through the information stage where you can offer the information you need for your potential customers, but it’s not so great for measuring the results of those efforts. 

Without these results, you can’t fine-tune your marketing and therefore can easily miss the boat and lose potential customers and waste a whole lot of money. Once a consumer has the information they need, they’ll go through a verification process as they analyse whether or not the purchase was a good one. They generally get their information through:

  • Direct experience with the product
  • Interaction with peers using the same product
  • Experts’ experience
  • Scientific journals and other resources
  • Independent reviews and opinions

 

You can accelerate this process by:

  • Providing your own demo’s and free trials
  • Offer them indirect experience through the experience of others
  • Offer a good true story that can be passed around 

Once you have the ability and are able to work through these concepts, you will be able to target your customers much better. If you need help with any of this along the way, try our GUIDED TOUR to gain access to our experienced business coaches.

If you would like to learn the secrets to increasing your business value overnight, register for one of our free webinars today!

If you want expert help now, book a free exploration session to see how we can work together.

If creating amazing customer experiences is one of your goals, check out our latest video on CX.

WOM meets Customers HEAD-ON

Today we’ll cover the idea of shortening your customers’ decision-making process with positive word of mouth. There are essentially 5 stages in the decision-making process.

They are:

  1. Awareness of an unmet need changing the “no” to “maybe
  2. Shop around
  3. Observe the product to check for potential benefits, features and operations to see if there is a fit with their needs.
  4. Become a customer and purchase their first item. They will be discriminated against for their first product as they form their opinion of you.
  5. Purchases again and starts spreading positive word of mouth as an advocate of your products.

So, let’s take a closer look at each one of these.

Awareness of an unmet need changing the “no” to “maybe

At this point the customer becomes aware of an unmet need, this stage is really important because if your potential customers don’t even take a second look at your products and services, then you have no chance of sealing a deal. This is why you need to offer credible information and well thought out pricing, guarantees and incentives.

Shop around

At this stage, they are shopping around, taking a closer look at your product line to see if there is actually anything that could benefit their life. They also compare your products and offerings to those of your competitors. This is where you need to make sure your information is easy to obtain and understand, so they can make an informed decision.

Trial Period

Customers often feel more at ease and ready to purchase when there is some sort of a trial in place. They usually want to try vicariously through someone else, so they don’t feel any risk involved. A good way to offer this is through demo videos, product demonstrations or a tour of your facilities. This stage may invoke a reaction of “I tried it and liked it. You should check it out.”

Make a Purchase

At this stage, they have taken the risk of purchasing one of your products or services and are now evaluating how easy, convenient, cost-effective and satisfying your product or service is. At this stage, a common reaction would be, “It was really easy to use and learn from. It’s really great, you should get it!”

Advocates for your Products

At this last stage of decision making the customer is immensely pleased with your product and often keeps using it and/or comes back for more products and services. They are likely telling everyone they know how much they like it, that they use it every day and have already (or will be) back to your establishment for more.

We talked a minute ago about the different types of purchasers. Now we are going to take a closer look at their characteristics, so you can figure out which tactics are best to use at the right stage of the decision-making process.

The Innovator

  • Wants to stand out from the crowd
  • Know what’s hot and trendy
  • Likes “strange” or “weird” new products
  • Wants to be the first to try and will talk about it animatedly

Early Adopter

  • Driven by excellence
  • More concerned with possibilities than realities
  • Always looking to be a leader
  • Always looking for a new vision

Middle Majority

  • Wants to be perceived as competent
  • Concerned about practicality and easy comparisons
  • Needs an easy way out if not satisfied
  • Wants products that meet the industry standard

Late Majority

  • Generally sceptical and wants to know the risks upfront
  • Needs to shop around for the best deal
  • Needs a support system
  • Wants what everyone else has

Laggard

  • Needs it to be completely safe and traditional
  • Needs reassurance that nothing will go wrong
  • Won’t try new things unless it’s the last resort
  • Will search for loopholes and problems
  • Wants to use it in the standard industry way

As you can see, each type of consumer wants something just a little different depending on their personality type. The key to successful word of mouth is to target and cater to each type of consumer. If you need help identifying the types of consumers you are currently helping and how to attract the types you are lacking, try our GUIDED TOUR for the resources and tools you need to get the job done.

Next time we’ll talk about how word of mouth messages are delivered and what you can do to help facilitate that.

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Harness the Power of WOM

Today we’re going to talk about how to harness the power of word of mouth. Including the six-step process to success and the 30 (that’s right, I said 30) ways to harness the power of WOM. So, let’s get started!

There are six steps to harnessing word of mouth:

  1. Understand your customers’ values and priorities, this will help you understand why they would buy your products.
  2. Understand the different adopter types: innovators, early adopters, middle majority, late adopters, and laggards. 
  3. Identify which decision stages are needed for your product to be adopted. 
  4. Use the information from steps 2 & 3 to figure out which wording and word of mouth tactics are going to work using the Decision Maker Matrix (we’ll talk about this in a minute).
  5. Put together the resources for the highest word of mouth impact.
  6. Create and implement your word-of-mouth campaign.

The Decision Maker Matrix is based on years of trial and error by George Silverman. It essentially charts different concerns you may come across when working with different adopters and putting together a decision process for each one. 

We are now going to move on to the 30 ways to harass the power of WOM:

Use Experts

Experts can come in many forms and all their opinions should be taken into consideration when putting together a WOM campaign. Some experts to gather information from include:

  • Customers
  • Suppliers
  • Experts
  • Salespeople
  • Experts’ roundtables
  • Experts’ selling groups

Seminars, Workshops & Speeches

These venues are a perfect opportunity to gather information. People who attend these types of events are used to giving feedback, so you can use a survey or other method to gather the information you can look over later. Some events to use are:

  • Speakers program
  • Seminars
  • Group selling
  • Dinner meetings
  • Peer selling groups
  • Teleconferenced experts’ panels
  • Trade show events/opportunities

“Canned” Word of Mouth

The concept of “canned” word of mouth is using hard and online products to get feedback and offer information at the same time. Some ideas for these are:

  • Videotapes
  • Audiotapes
  • World Wide Web
  • CD’s

Referral Selling

As we’ve talked about before a referral program can help with a variety of things in building your business. By using some of the following tactics and opportunities you can find out exactly what you need to do to generate positive word of mouth. These tactics and opportunities are:

  • Testimonials
  • Networking
  • Referral Selling Program

“New” Media

The concept of “new” media is the use of up-and-coming media sources and opportunities to get the word out about your products and services and listen for feedback about them. Here are some of the “new” media options:

  • Hotlines
  • Faxback services
  • Web-based word of mouth, such as forums, e-mail, etc.
  • Call centers

Using Traditional Media for Word of Mouth

Using traditional media is a great way to get feedback. These are still considered mainstream ways of interacting with the public and consumers. Some traditional media outlets are:

  • Customer service 
  • PR
  • Placements
  • Events
  • Promotions
  • Word of mouth in ads, sales brochures, or direct mail
  • Salesperson programs, sales stars, or peer training, 
  • Word-of-mouth incentive programs (“Tell-a-friend” programs)
  • Customer gifts they can share with their friends (articles, how-to manuals) 

Internal Word of Mouth

  • Encourage employee word of mouth and sharing feedback with family, friends, and others
  • Offer rewards or commission for the word of mouth success

As you can see there are tons of ideas you can work with to increase your level of positive word of mouth marketing. If you need help with any of this, please try our GUIDED TOUR to access our exclusive resources that can help you put this whole thing together.

Word of Mouth Tactics – Part 3

Last time we talked about the second part of word of mouth tactics which help you put together a system to help shorten the purchasing decision time of your customers which can increase your profits immensely.

Today we’re going to talk about the nine levels of word of mouth which gives you a tool to measure the word of mouth circulating around your company, products and services. You can then see where you are getting negative or weak word of mouth and find ways to correct it.

So, launching into the nine levels of word of mouth-it should seem relatively obvious that the negative levels are, well, negative and the positive levels are positive. 

Minus 4

This is the worst of the worst and means your product is creating a scandal. Remember, when the popular over-the-counter pain relievers, like Tylenol, were deemed unsafe? Yea, you won’t want that kind of word of mouth.

Minus 3

Disgruntled customers are going out of their way to convince other consumers from purchasing your products and services. They are boycotting you.

Minus 2

While, not outwardly boycotting, when customers are asked about you they will give a negative response. 

Minus 1

At this level, people are mildly dissatisfied and while not outwardly talking about it, they will have an opinion if asked. Now they may purchase from you despite their negative feelings, this can be a little confusing. 

Level 0

This is sort of a neutral place to be. Customers are using your products, but don’t really talk about it. People rarely ask them about it, so they aren’t sharing their opinion with others. This can be a bit of a slippery slope, because you don’t want to turn that neutral experience into a negative one. In fact, you should work to make it a positive one.

Plus 1

At this level we are finally starting to work our way into the positive word of mouth about you company, products and services. Plus 1 signifies that people are generally pleased with your products, but unless asked, don’t really say anything about them.

Plus 2

When asked, your customers will talk about how much they love your products.

Plus 3

Customers will go out of their way to talk about your products, services, company and their shopping experience with you. This is most evident when you see how people recommend movies to their friends and family.

Plus 4

Your product is the toast of the town. There is an obvious buzz going around and your business is the place to be. People are not only talking about your great products and services, but they are talking about their shopping experience, your customer service and how they perceive the company to help them in the future.

Some great examples of Plus 4 companies are:

  • Lexus
  • Harley Davidson
  • Saturn Cars
  • Netscape
  • Apple Computers
  • Celestial Teas

We’re going to leave this lesson for you to mull over and take a look at what kind of word of mouth you are generating. If you need help with this process, try our GUIDED TOUR to get help from our experienced business coaches.

Next time we’re going to talk about the 30 ways to harness the power of word of mouth.

Word of Mouth Tactics – Part 2

In the last post we started our series on word of mouth and talked about how to make your customers purchasing experience a short, easy one. We are going to continue with that theme a bit today. We’re going to talk about the power of word of mouth and how to mould it to your advantage.

The reality is everyone needs an advisor to guide them to make a decision. We rely on the expertise of others to make the right decisions as they are explained to us. When you take the time to understand exactly what and how word of mouth works, you’ll see all the great advantages it has to offer you. Remember this path when working to understand word of mouth:

  • Accelerate the decision making process for increased profits.
  • You can accelerate product making decisions by making the process easier.
  • Instead of low-ball advertising and the used car salesman approach, try delivering on your word of mouth promises.

Traditional advertising draws about one response for every thousand ads and most of those are to ask for more information before the customer even considers purchasing. When you get information from a friend, you are more likely to take their word for it and act. On average customers purchase two out of every five recommendations their friends make. That’s a HUGE difference.

So, what exactly is word of mouth? Well, we know how powerful it can be, but to define it: Word of mouth is a communication that happens between a customer and a potential customer. There is usually a relationship of some kind between these two people with an established level of trust. 

Now, compare this to advertising where you are providing a message to a potential customer where they have not established relationship with you or level of trust. Who are they more likely to take advice from? The answer is clear!
We talked above about the benefits of word of mouth now let’s take a look at some reasons why it works. Some of these are:

  • The information is custom tailored to the potential customer because of the friendly relationship of the referrer.
  • It’s more personal, relevant and believable.
  • It’s customer driven.
  • It’s self generating and can take on a life of its own, especially with the information age of the Internet.
  • It becomes part of the product’s description.
  • The source of word of mouth can be important and more effective when coming from an expert.
  • Word of mouth saves you time and money. 

To fully utilise word of mouth you need to understand:

  1. Where is your word of mouth coming from?
  2. What products are being affected by word of mouth?
  3. How is your word of mouth traveling?

Once you know these things you can work out a plan on how to trigger more word of mouth. This wraps up this lesson on word of mouth. If you need help understanding word of mouth and how it can impact your business, try our GUIDED TOUR to access our wealth of resources and tools.

Next time we’re going to dive into the nine levels of word of mouth. These levels help you understand which word of mouth is positive and which is not.

Book a session with one of our coaches to explore the ways we can help your business grow!

Word of mouth tactics – Part 1

Today we’ll start a new series talking all about Word of Mouth and how it can make or break your business in an extremely short amount of time. In this first lesson, we’ll get a feel for what exactly word of mouth is.

Word of Mouth is easily the most powerful form of marketing and is absolutely free. People talk about ads they see, the experiences they have and the products they purchase. If you treat people right and spread the word about your new products/services positively, you’ll attract the right customers and client who will sustain your business for a long time.

Now, as positive as word of mouth can be for your business, the other side of the coin is how negative it can be as well. Bad news seems invariable to travel faster than good news and if you have a less than high-quality product or weak customer service system, then your customers will tell everyone they know to not buy your products and services.

There are some stats to support this:

Word of mouth drives $6 trillion of annual consumer spending. Word of mouth marketing spend is expecting to grow by 70% for online WOMM and 30% for its offline counterpart. 43% of marketers using WOMM are estimating an increase in sales. Offline word of mouth increases sales by about 20%.

The age of technology has proved to be an amazing benefit in the world of word of mouth. With blogs, podcasts, online marketing, forums, social networking and all the other online mediums available and making it easier and easier for consumers to share their experiences. And, remember this is all free advertising for you.

Let’s take a minute to talk about the importance of shortening the customer decision cycle to help customers/client choose more quickly and easily. There are three great ways to increase sales by shortening the decision cycle.

They are:

  1. Increase the overall dollar amount customers spend on each purchase
  2. Increase your number of customers
  3. Increase the frequency of purchases

Let’s take a deeper look at decision speed.

Offer simplicity, ease and a fun purchasing atmosphere and you’ll help your customers make their decisions quicker and more confidently. When this happens your customers will buy more frequently, spend more money than usual, refer friends and make the decision to purchase faster. This can raise your market share by over 100 times.

The time it takes your customer to decide and purchase far outweighs any other component of marketing. When you focus on customer decision speed it forces you to take a hard look at your company and brand image, positioning, value, customer service, guarantees and product quality.

The next area I want to talk about quickly is how to minimise the friction, or stress, involved with decision making. No matter how easily people find decision making there is a certain amount of anxiety we all experience when making a purchase, especially from a new source or for a large amount of money. When you help to minimise this emotional response, you will soothe your customers’ anxiety and they will make their decision quicker and more confidently.

There are a few secrets to accelerate the customers’ decision making progress:

  • Your benefits, features, claims and promises must be obvious, clear and concise.
  • The information you offer must be complete, easy to understand, credible and balanced.
  • Use comparisons that show a marked difference.
  • Your guarantees must be rock solid and more than the customer expects.
  • Make trial periods easy.
  • You must have simple evaluations of your products or services.
  • Testimonials need to be relevant and positive. (Remember that your customers are looking for social proof)
  • Your support, delivery and other operational systems must be perfect.
  • Your website can be as good as you make it.
  • You can offer more than information, you can offer an experience that guides your customers gently through the decision-making process to make it easy for them to buy. Take it a step beyond by offering toll-free support numbers, software downloads to help with the process or other classy and informative ways to reassure your customers that you are there with them every step of the way and have nothing to hide.

This wraps up the first post in our series on word of mouth. If you need help identifying your target market and the issues they are experiencing in their purchasing experience that is making their decision time long, try our GUIDED TOUR and work with one of our coaches to come up with the best way to smooth out your purchasing experience.

Next time we’ll move forward with word of mouth and talk about the power of word of mouth and what exactly this powerful tool is and can be used for.

Untangle the red tape

I recently watched a show where the presenter travels across America in search of adventure. In this particular episode, he went to Texas to explore the wild, which included going fishing. He met a man that was called the fish whisperer. This man would accompany him on his journey, take him to all the best fishing spots so that he would be able to catch the big fish. The fish whisperer understood the fish, given the weather on that particular day he was able to steer the boat in the direction of the biggest fish.

In the last post, we talked about how to bring the big-company mindset into your business and your team. This thinking will help you overcome the mental obstacles that keep you from being successful. To successfully sign up your ideal customer, you must know them. Today we will unpack a few of the things you need to work on as well as talk about the potential red tape you may encounter along the way.

The most important thing to know about your fish is their purchasing habits and procedures. Here are four things you need to know to be successful:

  1. Who: Find out who makes the purchasing decisions, this person will influence purchasing, they make the final decision and can kill the deal if they want. Not only do you need to know who they are; you need to understand what drives them. Once you know who controls the process, you need to make sure you do what is necessary to get in front of them. Perhaps it’s a coffee to introduce your services. Take some time to build a connection with this person, remember it is Who you know, not what you know!
  2. How: All big businesses have a procurement process. The process is designed to eliminate unsuitable suppliers and potential fraudsters. You must know what the process is, what information they will need from you and what you can do to make it easier for them.
  3. Lingo: You need to learn the company’s unique language and communications methods. These could include report names, buzzwords and even the nicknames they have for their employees. 
  4. Budgets: It’s essential you know the fishes fiscal budget, so you know exactly when they are planning their expenses for the year.

Now that we’ve talked a little about what you need to know about your fish, let’s a quick look at the red tape.

Bureaucracy might as well be a four-letter word with the emotions it stirs in all of us. Red tape is a necessary evil, but it offers a learning opportunity.  

There are two ways to learn from their system:

  1. Analyze their activity.
  2. Review their correspondence.

Being an outsider gives you a different perspective, and you can use that to your advantage. If the vetting processes irritates you, can you imagine how the employees feel! You can win some favour and potentially speed up the process by making sure you have your ducks in a row, and offering help where possible. When asked for information, find out if there is a specific format that they need it in. If number-crunching is necessary, do it for them, make sure that it is correct.

The things we talked about in this lesson will help you prepare for the big approach. If you need help with any of this, try our GUIDED TOUR to find the right tools to get the job done.

Are you in the 1%?

The Rule of 1% is simply defined as adding to your customer service one percent at a time. Before you can do this, you must have your consistency perfected or it will never work. This one percent may seem small, but if you approach the vision for your company with baby steps, you will find a huge increase over time. It is not a sprint; it is a marathon.

Avoid doing too much at once or you will set yourself up for failure. Think of the confidence you and your team will have when you improve one percent each week. By the end of a year, you will have improved more than 50%!

While, rules and standards are necessary for growth, always be flexible with your best customers. Most retailers only allow a set number of items into a dressing room to reduce the risk of shoplifting, but it generally restricts the large percentage of people who are not stealing from you. Flexibility is the key to what you deliver to your customers and consistency is the key to how you deliver it.

The bottom line is customers rely on you to deliver what you promise. If you spend too much on bulky advertising that promises more than you can deliver, even your best intentions will unravel quickly, and you will fail.

Focus on your vision and take baby steps to turn your satisfied customers into Raving Fans.

I hope you have learned a lot about good customer service and how it is essential to your overall success. If you need help with any of the steps, we have gone through try our GUIDED TOUR and get access to some of the best resources, tools, and coaches available.

In upcoming posts, we are going to explore strategies of bagging the big clients and keeping them.