Never Lose a Customer Again
“Never Lose a Customer Again” by Joey Coleman
- The customer experience begins well before someone starts using your apps
- Customers go through a series of stages when determining if your product/service is right for them (assess, admit, affirm, activate)
- Once a customer decides to use your product/service, there is still work to be done to convert them from a first-time user to a dedicated, raving superfan (acclimate, accomplish, adopt, advocate)
- If you don’t consider all the possible inflection points along a customer’s journey, you are doomed to bring in new customers who will leave within the first 100 days — so, make everyone moment, and every interaction memorable, personal, and powerful
- Start a customer experience team
- Always design and build products with the assumption that support staff and account managers do not exist
- Forget B2B or B2C, all business is fundamentally human-to-human (H2H)
- Even when selling to a single person (conventional B2C), there are many humans involved in the purchasing decisions, social interactions, and product experience — shift your focus to think about all the humans involved with your business because at the end of the day the value boils down to something humans are providing for other humans
- The author explains how a remarkable dentist experience has made him a customer for life even though he used to hate the dentist
- ^ The experience he received was white glove: it anticipated his needs (asked the right questions, responded quickly, treated him like a person instead of a sale), didn’t waste his time (electronic, easy to fill forms), and delivered a great experience (fixed the problem, made him feel welcome, connected with him during the procedure)
- All businesses should strive to treat their customers in this way — they’ll never lose them and people will recommend them
- Most all companies are hemorrhaging 20-70% of their customers
- Generally speaking, when a customer leaves it is because they feel neglected
- Too many companies invest tons of money and effort into acquisition (and they also structure their goals and sales compensation around it) while greatly neglecting retention, the overall customer experience, and keeping the customers they acquire
- For most companies the post sale experience is like going on a string of great dates and then once you commit, the person you were dating is swapped with somebody completely different
- The cost of selling to an existing customer is much lower than a completely new customer; the likelihood of an existing customer to work with you again (if they had a good experience) is also really high
- Companies should carefully consider where praise and focus is distilled — often, customer support and experience folks are on the bottom rung and their jobs are looked at as disposable
- [my thoughts] as an app developer, the cost to get someone to download the app can be low, but depending on the use-case, a lot might have been invested to get them to sign up (ex: I downloaded the free bank app after signing up for a bank account); with that said, you are now a huge proponent of the customer experience… does the app user fee neglected if the app doesn’t work or try to anticipate their needs/wants?
- Older/expected differentiation strategies: no defects (1970s), customization options (1990s), price, 24/7/365 availability (2000s)
- Customer service is reactive; customer experience is proactive — it’s tries to anticipate and go beyond what a customer thinks they’ll receive
- Many companies claim they have great customer experiences, ratings, etc, but it couldn’t be farther from the truth; they often ignore the customer’s real emotions, the entire journey, the fact that you may be getting vanity reviews, or that overtime you stop wowing them
- Customer experience is one of the hardest things for another company to copy; it is one of the greatest differentiators of our current time
- Think about the first 100 day experience, if you can deliver high value within it, you can retain a customer
- You should be thinking through and designing the entire experience like a movie director thinks about the emotions and viewer will have at each scene
- Customer journey: assess, admit, affirm, activate, acclimate, accomplish, adopt, advocate
- Six ways to communicate in all phases: in-person, email, mail, phone, video, and (real) presents
Chapter 8 (Assess)
- When a customer is assessing whether they want to do business with you, they may focus on how they are being treated pre-sale (and how they assume they will be treated post sale) more than the product itself; they want to feel that they are more than just a sales number adding to your bottom line
- Meet the customer where they are, take an interest in their interests
- Incentivize the sales team on keeping long-standing customers… not just new ones
- Sales needs to frame what the experience will be after the sale, pay close attention to customer details, and ensure all that and more is relayed to implementation; the emotional connection is extremely important
- Do your homework and try to find out 1 to 2 personal details about a client; don’t rush to make the quick sale; be honest
- Share education materials with your customers (not just sales) — what would this look like for us?
- Action: Look over your marketing materials and ask yourselves how is customer going to feel if they used your service?
- Action: What is one thing you could start doing tomorrow to help with the access phase?
- Action: How could you use any of the 6 methods of comm. in this phase?
Chapter 9 (Admit)
- Admit starts the moment the customer signs on the dotted line or clicks the pay button which is followed by customer excitement for finding the solution
- Most companies miss a golden opportunity to share in the excitement with the customer (and not because you just made money, but because you are generally excited that they are excited and looking forward to working with them)
- A physical memento of the partnership with a new customer that get shared and celebrated publicly can create “fear of missing out” (FOMO) with others
- Get creative for making those first moments after the purchase exciting, fun, and personalized — take a note from the company who sends a personalized custom welcome video (that only takes them 1 minute to produce); did I mention the click through rate is 5x greater than most industry standards!
- The sooner you can build a relationship between your new and former customers the better — they’ll be stronger and know they joined a group of likeminded people
- Don’t go overboard — especially this early in the relationship — it’d be like taking a first date on a foreign trip… it would be too much too soon; make sure to match the customers level of excitement and then save some more enthusiasm for later in the journey
- Action: How could you use any of the 6 methods of comm. in this phase?
Chapter 10 (Affirm)
- Once someone makes a buying decision, it is paramount to reaffirm their purchase
- Handing off a customer from sales person to AM must be done with care, affirmation, and transparency; otherwise, it is like courting someone to marriage and then on the honeymoon you quickly say “here’s Bob, have fun, and then you leave to chase someone else”
- Buyer’s remorse is super common and you need to actively battle against it by affirming the customer’s purchase; prepare a plan for this, have answers/tactics ready to respond, and make sure the customer is able to share their doubts
- Make the required… remarkable
- There is buyers remorse, but there is also this same remorse and doubt when using something new or unfamiliar — overcome this
- Money back guarantees are a way lots of big companies eliminate buyers remorse
- The more expensive the purchase, the more remorse that can exist
- If you can get your customers singing your praises, then use that praise to combat buyers remorse
- Affirm techniques: in-person, (confirmation) email, (personalized) mail, phone call, video, present
- How can you use these?
- What happens currently during the quiet period?
- What happens during the sale and interaction? What are both parties doing?
- Do you create remarkable experiences during the affirm phase?
Chapter 11 (Activate)
- The first interaction with your product needs to wow, it needs to accomplish its task, it doesn’t need to be a dud firework — the first impression matters!
- Remove as many barriers as possible so that your customer can experience your product/offering immediately upon delivery (ex: Apple made sure all devices were charged and usable upon opening)
- Make the first impression memorable, personalized, delightful, special, unexpected
- Ensure the customer journey is mapped out for your company
Chapter 12 (Acclimate)
- previous phase was spectacle, this phase is about consistent results and showing process
- Hold the customers hand and show them the way (with a literal implantation map - this should strive to be simple) to use/adopt your product
- Implemention puzzle idea: do this step, then this step, and you get a puzzle piece for each step
- Consider actions you can take to lower customer’s stress and answer their questions before they happen (ex: Delta letting folks know their checked bag has made it onto the plane… whew!)
- Take actions to build trust (ex: an email saying here is your team, here’s what they do, and here’s their contact and a personal blurb)
Chapter 13 (Accomplish)
- make sure from the onset of a customer relationship that you define what their goals are; if you do, then you can return to the goals in this phase and ensure you’ve met them; you can also celebrate them
Chapter 14 (Adopt)
- In this phase the customer “adopts” the company and takes a personal responsibility (makes a decision) to continue their use of its services and products; these are the “VIP customers”
- When someone adopts your company, incentivize that relationship; reward them
- Learn about the 1% of your users; find ways to give personalized attention to them, and by doing so, create long-lasting personal and business relationships
Chapter 15 (Advocate)
- Mobilize your best customers
- Don’t ask for advocacy too early (ex: right after a sale with a completely new customer), this is unlikely to result in new customers and is really counterproductive; the customer probably doesn’t know the value of your product yet and it sends the signal that you care more about “users at all costs” than the actual user
- Dropbox’s referral program was super successful — when users exceeded their free 2GB of memory, they received an email showing them options for how to purchase 10, 50, and 100GB increments, AND at the bottom of the email customers saw an option to “refer someone and get 500MB for each referral”; this was powerful because at the time of asking, the user knew the value, achieved some success with the product, and was ready to make a decision that didn’t feel like overly manufactured or dirty
- Choose the right referral — one that excites your current customer; referrals that don’t excite won’t happen
- This chapter starts discussing how to get started with the phases (investigate, observe, personalize, and surprise)
- “Get interested in others” instead of trying “to get others to be interested in you”; be a keen OBSERVER!
- Learn and use people’s names, it is the one of the sweetest sounding words to anyone, regardless of language
- Pick a CRM and actually use it; capture meaningful data that WILL BE used for those special interactions
- Back fill data in the CRM where you can; lots of public information out there than can you give you better lead on how to personalize that customers experience
- If you’re going to use personal information to craft meaningful experiences, do it genuinely and without compromising trust (i.e. “my creepy, sneaky algorithm found this” versus “we had a conversation and I paid attention”)
- If you haven’t observed what your customers experience is in more than a month, you need to!
- Gifts SHOULD NOT have your logo on it
- Think of gifts that keep on giving, and give gifts when no one else is (not during the holidays)
- Create a customer experience team and get handful of folks and volunteers across the company to focus on learning about customers and improving their lives directly; not from behind a desk