Today’s Guest Post is by Duct Tape Marketing Consultant, Debra Mendes – Enjoy!
The relationship you create and develop with your customer is key to developing a successful business. The experience the customer has with your business is a driving factor in developing this relationship. The experience or relationship is not just about how they feel about your product or service; it is the entire journey beginning from the first moment they meet or discover you.
To build a long lasting relationship with your customer, begin with a comprehensive and consistent framework. The Duct Tape Marketing Hourglass™ allows you to design the customer experience by identifying and understanding each interaction with the customer and progression in the relationship with you. The Hourglass will allow you to map the journey the customer takes as they get to Know, Like, and Trust your business, into the conversion phase of the Hourglass as they Try and Buy your product or service, and ongoing as a life-long customer who Repeats and Refers.
Defining your customer interactions may seem like a lot of work. It is. But it’s valuable. Customer loyalty and referrals deliver financial dividends and are the result of a positive customer experience – one that is worth sharing with others.
The key to building successful interactions is to predict your customers’ needs and proactively resolve them. Often what we do is think from our point of view of how do we connect, what do we give them. Instead consider questions from their point of view such as:
- What information do they need?
- When do they need it?
- How do they want consume it?
- What will they want to do next?
Questions to understand what your customer needs and wants will help you create and reinvent a positive experience. Taking the approach from the customer perspective first instead of mapping out the points of contact and how you want to interact with them will give you the fresh look at what it is the customer expects.
Step 1 – Getting Started
In order to design and deliver these customer interactions, you first need to have developed your marketing strategy. Understanding your purpose, difference, core message, and ideal customer makes defining your customer interactions easier for you and more valuable for your customers. Each of your interactions should be designed from the perspective of an individual customer persona.
Step 2 – Understand the Customer Perspective
Begin by creating a customer experience map. In the first column list the following five (5) questions. (Note: you can do this on a piece of paper, a spreadsheet, or a white board.)
1. What is the customer goal(s)?
2. What questions does the customer have?
3. What is the customer expectation? (What expectations to they have in perspective of answering their questions?)
4. What is the customer feeling?
5. What action/outcome do we think best helps customer? (What action do we want them to take?)
6. How can we create the journey to achieve customer goal?
Notice we did not start with points of contact, the idea is to know why they would connect, and then design how to connect with a purpose.
Step 3 – Map the Customer Journey
Create a row above for each stage of the Duct Tape Marketing Hourglass™ begin with Know, Like, and Trust then continuing into Try and Buy and ending with Repeat and Refer. This framework will allow you to answer the questions about the customer experience and envision how they will progress from one step of the Marketing Hourglass to the next. Repeat the process for each of your interactions.
Step 4 – Prioritize and Implement
With your new experience map in hand, you can now prioritize and begin to develop or improve the systems that will provide the most value to you and your customer.
Designing the customer experience with a view to creating life-long customers doesn’t have to be complicated. Using the Marketing Hourglass as the framework and putting yourself in the mindset of your customer will allow you develop customer relationships that have lifelong benefit for you and your customer.
Debra Mendes is the Co-founder of Valens Point, dedicated to helping small businesses in the high-tech industry achieve their growth goals in a systematic and practical way. Debra is a Master Duct Tape Marketing Consultant. She currently lives in the beautiful and rich historic area of the Shenandoah Valley near our nations’ capital In her spare time, she gardens, and hangs out on the back yard decks with friends and neighbors. For more articles like this, visit the Valens Point Blog, or connect via LinkedIn or Twitter.