The Customer Journey: How to Build Relationships and Create Loyal Advocates for Your Brand
Let me tell you about a special experience…
While visiting a friend in NYC, we decided to head out to brunch. Turning the corner, we noticed the line wrapped around the building. The wait was easily an hour or longer. So, we decided to go elsewhere, but were stopped by someone in an apron with a tray of OJ, coffee and pastries. Smiling, he said, “I know the wait is long, but we’ll make it worth it” and offered up the tray.
Talk about going above and beyond, wowing us and personalizing the experience—a trifecta that turned us into loyal patrons.
Engaging with customers and winning relationships looks different for each brand.
The customer journey is not linear—it is complex with many touchpoints and different processes during each stage. While the customer loop may look pretty basic (Awareness > Consideration > Purchase > Retention > Advocacy/Loyalty), getting to the final stage requires effort. Building brand loyalty is possible, but it takes time, strategy, perseverance and a whole lot of heart.
To build relationships with your customers and drive repeat business, consider the following strategies:
Establish Trust and Credibility
Be authentic. Engage with your customers as you would your friends. Tell the truth. Be reliable and consistent. As a brand, build rapport with your audience in the same way you would with a friend. Whatever you are selling, make sure it does what you say it does. If you advertise fresh, never frozen beef patties, they must be fresh and never frozen. If you guarantee 100% satisfaction or their money back, make the return a simple process and refund their money in a timely fashion. If you do what you say, then your brand authenticity will win you credibility!
Practice the Art of Conversation
Just like in any new relationship, learning about the other party is crucial to building rapport and strengthening your bond. Ask questions: A simple online or in-store survey can help you understand what your customers want and how your brand is perceived. Greet your customers, ask them about their day and their needs. Get to know your customers, and you will find it easier to understand their unarticulated needs. This will help you personalize the touch point, go above and beyond, win them over and build loyalty.
Give them the WOW Factor
Making a purchase with a 100% satisfaction guarantee or a 30-day money back addendum is table stakes. It is an expected reality and doesn’t qualify as a “wow” moment for the customer. Think about how you can go above and beyond to turn a transaction into an experience—and turn a customer into a returning loyalist. Perhaps adding a free gift with purchase or cash back for spending a certain amount? How about including a free membership, like a complimentary Sirius XM subscription with a new vehicle purchase/lease? During each step of the customer journey, you’ll have opportunities to create memorable touch points and conversions. Every touch point can and should be personalized. Think of ways to wow your customer at the transaction stage so it becomes a memorable event for them.
A brand can never be all things to all people. You have a niche, and that is a good thing. Jewelry stores cannot also be coffee shops, but they can offer some options and variations to win their customers’ hearts and minds. Options can be in the service portion of the transaction, like accepting all forms of credit cards, taking cash and check payments and even offering variable finance options for pricey items. Make it simple and easy to do business—and customers will become repeats and eventually brand loyalists.
We’d love to know: How do you build relationships?
Want to learn more about building brand loyalty? Let’s talk. Approach us anytime at firstname.lastname@example.org.