Does your brand strategy make space for those “lightning-strike” moments that continue to surprise and delight your customers? What are you doing to foster the feeling of being a trusted leader in your industry?
Do you have the expertise to go the extra mile when it comes to serving your customers? And — most importantly — which areas of your customer journey can you consistently create the most value?
We already know that successfully delighting customers goes beyond creating great products or life-changing services.
The strongest strategy you can deploy to boost your brand’s sales channels and allow you to take giant leaps toward the mass market lies in creating multiple opportunities that spark “ah-ha” moments throughout customers’ purchasing journeys.
However, you should not lose yourself in over-the-top efforts. At its core, your overall strategy should focus on one thing: Simple, quick solutions to concerns and problems that reduce customer effort.
In two words: Remove barriers.
How do you make that happen? We list 5 tactics your brand must adopt to remove barriers in your customer journey and make it easy for your customers to stay loyal.
1. Increase efficiency in anticipating and addressing related issues
One of the biggest issues customers face is the repeat need to reach out to customer service. When one issue is resolved, typically another related one pops up down the line.
You can strengthen your customer journey strategy by 1) studying your customer interaction data, 2) seeing where concerns overlap, and 3) training your team to anticipate and address these related issues so they can solve them during the first communication instead of waiting for customers to reach out a second time.
To see this “issue prediction” approach in action, imagine this scenario:
When a customer purchases a product, a typical next concern is “How do I use it?”
We would address this by including a quick tutorial on how to operate the product as well as some best practices in maximising its use.
For more complicated concerns that are too lengthy to address during the first communication, we suggest offering some “suggested next steps” on your website, email, or call — whatever channels you communicate with your customers.
This way, customers can address these issues before they leave your site, close the email, or end the call.
2. Appeal to customers’ emotional side
Delighting your customers requires a strong emotional connection. When there is an emotional disconnect between your customer service team and customers, trust is diminished.
And when trust is diminished, you risk losing a customer (or several, depending on how prevalent the problem is).
One great way we would address this is by incorporating a more personal approach into your brand strategy to eliminate any interpersonal issues.
As an example, CD Baby — which was, at one point, the largest distributor of independent music around the world — achieved breakout success in the independent music scene by creating a platform where musicians could sell their CDs directly to their fans, process payments quicker, and improve the overall customer journey.
Through word-of-mouth, happy customers shared their praises not just for CD Baby’s amazing service, but also for its quirky approach to branding and marketing.
Their now viral confirmation email is a silly and fun approach to the usual boring ones. According to its founder, Derek Sivers, it is the “most successful email I ever wrote” and led to thousands of new customers.
But it should not stop there.
Building on CD Baby’s email, we want to emphasise the importance of language and personality in choosing the right approach when interacting with customers.
With most scale-ups we have worked with, we always recommend building a strategy that errs on reducing friction between customers and service reps.
We urge business leaders to train their teams to look for hints that may give them a clear picture of what their customers’ personalities are. This allows teams to quickly assess what language to use when interacting with them.
The usual words that trigger negative reactions from customers are “can’t,” “won’t,” and “don’t”. Using phrases that offer solutions and communicate clarity helps make a “no” easier to swallow.
As an example, when a product or service is no longer available, instead of saying, “We don’t offer that product/service anymore,” say “We’ve discontinued that product/service because we now have a better option available, which is…”
3. Streamline customer service platforms
In our line of work, we see a recurring theme: Brands bombard customers with multiple self-service channels (chatbots, online support communities, interactive voice response options, websites, etc.) with the hope of addressing their needs in multiple ways while making sure their customer service teams are not inundated with calls.
While the idea makes sense in theory, real-life paints a different picture.
Less tech-savvy customers, in the course of finding a resolution, jump from one channel to another and still do not get the help they need.
At the end of the day, they resort to picking up the phone anyway. Only this time they are more agitated than when they started.
Instead of adding a myriad of confusing and complicated platforms to keep up with customer demands and competitors, opt to minimise customer need to switch between different service routes.
In practise, this may look like simplifying the language and layout of your website’s Help or FAQs section and guiding customers toward the channels that will suit their concerns best.
For example, less tech sophisticated customers can be nudged toward informative articles that offer simple language and step-by-step instructions. While those who are more tech-inclined can be guided toward more technically advanced online support communities.
This should lessen confusion and customer service calls significantly.
4. Leverage negative feedback
Bad customer feedback can be a blessing. It can show your brand where your service will need to improve and increase your brand’s ability to resolve future issues.
You can do this in three steps:
Step 1: Study customer online behaviour and pinpoint which ones are struggling with your product or service (Who is spending more than two minutes on your Help or FAQs section? Who clicked on the “Contact Us” link? Who has been emailing/calling with concerns back and forth? Who has left bad reviews on your website, social media, and other public pages?)
Step 2: Train a portion of your service team to reach out to unhappy customers and focus on resolving their issues.
Step 3: Make sure to ask for feedback on how and where you can improve and make the necessary tweaks to your brand strategy and processes.
5. Prioritise competence over speed
Most companies measure their team member’s value in terms of how fast they can handle concerns. So, it is no surprise that most customers are still left wanting after each call.
You cannot delight your customers when you are solely focusing on productivity.
As stated in the intro, you need to make it easy for your customers to stay loyal. If your service team is more concerned about their average handle time (and the incentives that follow if they reach productivity targets) than overarching customer satisfaction, you risk increasing customer churn rates.
Focus on efficient problem-solving, not speed.
Encourage a team member-driven initiative that can capture data on which of your existing processes are considered “high customer effort” and make the necessary amendments. Incentivise your customer service team to see customer issues through from start to finish.
At the end of the day, the customers must expend as little effort as possible when it comes to solving their issues. Not the other way around.
We believe that your customers’ purchasing journey should not stop the moment your product gets to their doors. It involves a never-ending process of keeping customers happy until they decide to buy from you again (or tell their friends about your brand).
With our guidance, multiple clients across several industries have achieved high customer satisfaction, repeat purchases, and increased customer loyalty and brand evangelism in just the first 12 months.
Partner with us today if you want us to do the same for you.