Business-to-customer relationships parallel person-to-person relationships in the most basic way: everyone wants to be shown a little love. In business, that translates into providing a great customer experience.
Single touch-points occur all the time. For example, you might need a cup of sugar from your neighbor. However, it takes multiple touch-points to develop a true relationship. For instance, before you call your neighbor your trusted friend, you might help him dig his car out of the snow, your children may play in each other’s yards, he might come to your barbecue, and so forth.
Business-to-customer relationships are similar. Focusing all of your customer relationship energy on the sale may result in short-term gains. However, if you then proceed to neglect other stages of your customer lifecycle (customer support, service, renewal, etc.), you’ve lost out on a huge opportunity to make a life-long customer.
The Importance of the Customer Lifecycle
Forrester recommends that organizations ditch the traditional marketing funnel, replacing it with a process that builds an ongoing relationship with the customer: the Customer Life Cycle.
As customer experience guru Annette Franz emphasizes, the moment of sale is not the stopping point when it comes to your customers:
“Discounts might be working well to bring customers in the door, but do they stay after they’re in? Can you keep those that you acquire? Are you creating a precedence that is not sustainable?”
In other words, are you simply focused on getting a sale, but not on building a long-term relationship? If so, then you are making a big mistake.
Customer Experience for the Long Haul
The truth of the matter is that customers aren’t looking for you to provide a stunning customer experience. They just want to know that you are a dependable, honest company that is willing to communicate regularly with them. They want sales, marketing, and service to be transparent and easy. Customer care needs to be dependable across all stages.
Read: The Shocking ROI of Improving Customer Service
If a company is only looking at the sales side of things, they’re giving off the message that they aren’t practicing “customer love.” Instead, they’re just using their customers without providing much long-term value in return. And really, if a company isn’t dedicated to helping you out, why should you be loyal to them?
Once you’ve made the sale, your relationship has only just begun. Now you have to ensure that you live up to everything you promised.
The Right Tools for Each Situation
Targeting and acquiring customers is definitely a starting point, but you must then continue to provide a positive experience when onboarding, supporting, growing, and retaining your customers. The way you treat your customers after the sale is the way you set up the relationship for the rest of the customer lifecycle.
Ensuring your customers’ needs are met at each stage may require utilizing a number of different tools at different times. For example, having a support section and good FAQs are important for a good customer experience. You may want to use chat bots at the same time, to help direct visitors to the correct information if they can’t find it themselves.
Moreover, while at some points customers may be able to self-serve, there will also be times when they will need to connect directly with your customer service department. Be sure you provide an easy means to move from self-serve to humanized assistance, across a variety of channels, so you can meet your customers where they want to be.
Read: What is Cobrowsing?
Once your customer are talking with real humans, make sure those customer service employees are well-trained and able to quickly find answers to even the most complex questions. In addition, provide them with tools like cobrowse software to help them easily understand customer issues and guide customers to success.
Show Your Customers Love
If you show your customers love, they will show you love in return. And if you build long-term relationships based on a great customer experience, you will make your customers happy and enable your organization to grow.
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