60 Ways to Screw Up the Customer Experience
By John Jantsch
I rarely lead with the negative, but sometimes it's the best way to get someone's attention.
When I present marketing strategy to groups I'll often ask them to identify the characteristics of their ideal customers, and they can't seem to narrow their thinking beyond people with money. But when I ask them to tell me who they "don't" want to work with, many characteristics leap to mind.
Here's the deal – every way, shape and form that your business comes into contact with prospects, customers and friends of friends of both, you are performing a marketing function. So let me ask you this – have you considered the impact or lack of impact of every touch point in your customer's journey?
In order to expand your thinking on this point, let's audit the real and potential touch points that impact the customer experience and ultimately your brand, in general. (The main thing we are looking for is an appealing, positive, consistent message across these touch points and a call to action that makes someone want to go on a continuing journey with you.)
Some of you might recognize the categories of know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat and refer as stages in something I've been calling the Marketing Hourglass, that point to the logical way to think about a perfect end-to-end customer experience.
Know – This is how people become aware of your business and brand.
Like – This is the stage in which people are starting to notice your brand and decide if they want to know more.
- Website – Many times a prospect visits your website first to learn what you have to offer – what message does this touch point send? (add this question to every point below because that's what I want you to consider.)
- Advertising – Your ads may be the first way someone is introduced to your business.
- Marketing materials – Don't forget offline materials that help tell your story in more tactile ways.
- Networking – How you network, where you network and who you are in conversations with, are all part of your brand
- Networks – What social network you choose to engage in, and how deeply you choose to participate matters.
- Referrals – When a raving fan refers someone to your business, how are they greeted? Are they treated special?
- Content – How are you using content to both create awareness and act as a home to send those who encounter your ads?
- Community involvement – Encountering your brand through other communities and community involvement can send a strong signal about what you're passionate about.
- Events – Demonstrating your expertise and giving advice before you ever start to promote is one way to gain respect and authority.
- Physical presence – What does your office, your store, your dress say about your brand? I'm not suggesting what it should say, simply that it does speak something.
- Value proposition – Do people automatically understand that you do something very, very well that matters to them?
- Social engagement – How you engage on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn is observable – have you considered the impact of this on your brand?
- Graphic design – Many companies have won with a focus on design. Many more don't give it a second thought. What does the design of your product, service, website, communication, email signature say or not say?
- Content – Again with content – it has an intentional use at just about every stage, but you must understand each use – for like, content might just be mostly about telling your story.
- Your people – Culture is marketing and for the most part people experience culture through people. Do your people understand your brand and have they been recruited because your story resonates?
Trust – No one buys from companies they do not trust and it's never been easier to learn who is trustworthy, and who is not.
- SEO – I like to put search at the top of the trust list because today if you're not showing up in a variety of online fronts, you're throwing off a huge trust downgrade. If you don't dominate the entire page one for a search on your company name, you've got an issue.
- Reputation – We won't do business with companies that even total strangers have told us don't keep their word. Proactively managing your reputation online and off has to be part of the marketing puzzle.
- Referrals – Referrals, like other elements, show up in different stages because we are no longer really in charge of how people go on a journey. A referral can be the ultimate trust signal if you treat it that way.
- Demonstrations – People often misinterpret a demo as a way to show what a product or service does – it's not, it must first be a way to show why what it does is so awesome for me. Fix this part!
- Influence – Like it not, the last time I checked my Klout score (okay it was today) is was considered pretty good. Yes, people obsess over social proof and that's what makes it matter as a factor. Work on building your influence by helping others build theirs – more on that.
- Success stories – Show me proof that other people just like me actually achieved what I want to achieve by working with you.
- Public relations – I believe someone else who says you are super talented more than I believe you telling me that. Seeing your name penned by others or reading a piece you contributed to a publication I respect send huge trust signals.
- Consistency – This is a tough one. I guess this is actually a rallying cry for process documentation, but know that one of the greatest eroders of trust is an inconsistent experience. How do you make sure I get the same experience every time and every place?
- More events – Getting to experience your knowledge and slightly sarcastic sense of humor by way of a webinar or presentation at the lunch network I belong to is one powerful way of building trust.
- Connecting – Who you are connected to, who you have as a guest on your podcast, and who you reach out and connect me to suggests you are someone to trust.
- Content – Oh no here it is again – what content are you offering freely that takes our relationship to entirely new level now that I'm really paying attention?
- Sales process – This might be another call for consistency, but simply having a process for when someone completes an online form or requests a demo is a start. Even better, what could you do that would blow me away in response to my hinting I might need what you offer?
|About the Author:
John Jantsch is a marketing consultant, award winning social media publisher and author Duct Tape Marketing and The Referral Engine. He is the creator of the Duct Tape Marketing System and Duct Tape Marketing Consultant Network that trains and licenses small business marketing consultants around the world.