No, this blog is not about a Level 42 song (for those of an age that can remember), it’s about what Valentine’s Day can teach businesses.
Let me start by saying that I don’t really do Valentine’s Day, I find it all a bit too commercial, choosing instead to show love 52 weeks a year.
Before I left for a city break recently I had been investigating new cars, firstly to ensure that the vehicle reflects my personal and business brand (a key part of my marketing campaign) and secondly as a treat for how business is shaping up right now. I have decided that it is time to take a leap of faith and break from my tradition of Vorsprung durch Technik. I contacted a couple of car companies for a brochure and to book a test drive – one a premium Italian car brand and the other a British one.
The Italian experience
For the Italian one (my preferred option because it sets my heart racing more), I had to request a brochure twice and it still didn’t arrive. They took forever to answer the phone and there was nobody available to deal with my request when they did. I was never contacted about a test drive, leaving me disappointed. Did I really want one so badly that I was prepared to accept poor service, directly contradicting the impression of the company that built the car I’ve been dreaming about for 10 years?
I saw an advertised post on LinkedIn for this same Italian car brand (no surprise there) and commented that the cars were clearly beautiful, but the customer service left something to be desired. The head of UK corporate sales was quickly in touch to ask about my experience and tried very hard (perhaps in vain due to their tarnished brand) to make it up to me. At that point I had emotionally and mentally fallen out of love with the dream.
The British experience
By contrast, I requested a test drive of the British car brand, again via the website, and was politely contacted within two working hours. Wow, what a difference. Needless to say the test drive is booked and I am excited about the opportunity to explore a car brand that shares my values and gets my heart racing.
How are my apathy towards Valentine’s Day and my experience of trying to purchase a car related? Well both of these examples uncover some of the brands’ values and sales and marketing processes. For the first brand there’s clearly a gap either in their processes or in the brand-alignment of their franchisees. Clearly their customer engagement strategy isn’t working, unlike that of the British example. How do they expect prospective customers to trust them enough to spend tens of thousands of pounds if they can’t even call someone back or post out a brochure?
The second brand has absolutely nailed the enquiries process and this has taken me a step closer to trusting them enough to make a purchase.
What can this teach you?
Developing a strong brand and building trust and customer loyalty takes time, persistence and consistency. Every single touch point on their customer journey from initial awareness, through test drive, purchase, delivery, after care and replacement needs to excel. If it doesn’t, it leaves an opportunity for indecision and then competitors pounce.
Relationships are exactly the same. You cannot buy one bunch of expensive flowers and go out for dinner once mid February and expect a wow reception. You need to show your love and attention consistently, day in day out. This a good strategy in action.
Something to think about…
What are you doing to make your prospects and clients feel loved? How are you engaging them to ensure they can move from knowing, to liking you, to trusting you enough to buy, not just once, but time and time again? Have you looked carefully at your customer journey to ensure everyone and everything they encounter delivers against your values? If the person answering the phone, manning reception or managing the enquiries on the website (often not the highest paid and probably a more junior member of the team) are not aligned with the brand values, then the potential loss is huge.
Most people purchase somewhere between the fifth and eighth interaction, so what touch-points have you developed for your prospects to get to know you and build trust? Are you adding value with the content you share and the interactions you have, regardless of whether or not you’ve made a sale or ever will? Do you have a customer engagement strategy?
It costs seven times more to win a new client than retain an existing one.
You have to work hard and consistently on every element of your customer journey to attract new and retain existing clients and stay ahead of your competition. After all, nothing worth having ever came easily.
Are you missing opportunities to connect and impact your customers? In today’s competitive markets, customers need to be wowed, they need to be actively involved from the word ‘go’.
If you want to provide the best customer experience for both new and existing customers, access our tool here to get started: tendo-uk.com/touchpoint