When considering customer experience, the best model is that of an hourglass, not a funnel. In a webinar hosted by Crowd Factory, Altimeter Group’s Jeremiah Owyang cited Joseph Jaffe’s book “Flip the Funnel,” which posits that many companies spend all their time and energy on trying to lure customers to the point of purchase — and then stop investing in those customers once the transaction has been made. Owyang said an hourglass model, which places value on customers both before and after the purchase, can help grow a company’s customer base by gaining customer loyalty and promoting customer advocacy.
“Individual efforts result in an incomplete customer experience,” Owyang said, referring to a diagram that shows a seven-level customer life cycle. Some of his key points for each phase:
- Use paid media to fuel awareness. If a pre-existing online community or social site can suit your needs, don’t waste time coming up with a new one.
- Foster an environment for customer consideration. Many consumers swear by reading online reviews, and people trust peer reviews much more than they trust ads, according to Sanjay Dholakia, CEO of Crowd Factory. Owyang suggested aggregating third-party reviews to your corporate site, so consumers can see what people are saying all in one location.
- Let customers show their intent to purchase. If customers are excited to buy your product, let them shout it from the digital rooftops. Give customers a way to advertise their new purchase through social avenues that they already use. Levi’s adopted the Facebook “like” button on their website, so customers can show friends their new jeans before the package even arrives.
- Make purchasing a game. Use social features to allow your customers to share the point of purchase with friends. Consider adding gamelike elements that offer incentives for customers, such as a discount or extended service contract for customers who get their friends to purchase the same item.
- Show some support. Use a multilevel strategy to save your employees’ energy for answering the tough questions. Post FAQs on your website and encourage customers to communicate with one another to work out issues on a peer level, then dispatch your employees for customer service questions that require an expert.
- Reward customer loyalty. Customer loyalty rewards used to be all about value, but in the age of social media, such things as badges and game mechanics can be an even better prize for some customers.
- Make your advocates your advertisers. Once you have a loyal customer base, you can watch it go to work for you in the form of positive reviews, both in person and across digital channels. Owyang pointed out that customer advocates are the cheapest form of advertising, but also the most trusted.
You can catch a streaming replay of the webinar at CrowdFactory.com