Turn a true friend into a true believer. Making the most of customer relationships.

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It's spring. The weather is warming up, my social calendar is filling up. My wardrobe is in a state of crisis.

I take a gamble on a company I have never purchased from before. My stuff arrives. I love every piece.

An email arrives offering 10% off. I am pleased with my first purchases so I get a few more things to round out my wardrobe. It's meager but the 10% discount is enough to motivate me to buy more.

I have done quite a lot to distinguish myself from the average customer. I have registered with an account on the website. I have told them my size, my favorite color and given them my credit card number. I responded positively to an email / direct marketing offer by making a purchase. I have placed two orders within a month of each other. And here's a biggie: I actually commented and shared a public link about the company on my personal Facebook page. 

I'm a highly-engaged customer at this point. Don't you agree? 

Consider this question:

 "What strategy is this company using to manage its relationship with me?"

So far the company has responded to all of my customer-initiated actions. I registered, they confirmed. I ordered, they confirmed then sent dispatch notifications. I posted on Facebook, they replied and thanked me. I ordered again, they confirmed and dispatched.

For company-initiated actions:  a stock email was sent. A call-to-action offer was made (buy today, get 10% off). A full-color catalog arrived in the mail, again offering 10% off.

This all conforms to the standard online buying experience. It's a proven fail safe strategy.  I am happy but not blown away, thrilled, or pleasantly surprised. I am not yet a raving fan, a true believer. I may or may not feel compelled to tell any other friends about them.  

Can they turn me into a super-fan?

What if this company decided to really nurture our burgeoning relationship? What could they do to make themselves stand out?

Picture this. An email arrives with a link to a personalized 'lookbook' of all the things I have bought. It contains outfit suggestions. All the possible combinations. They can show me how my stuff goes with what I already have.They might safely assume I already have 'essential' items like jeans or black suit trousers. (or if not, why the hell not? hint hint!). 

The email subject heading might say "How's your spring wardrobe shaping up Jacqui?"

It might point out obvious holes in my look, such as the fact that I haven't ordered any shoes. It might make suggestions for how to dress up the basic white t shirt I got. It could encourage me to see what other items I may have in my wardrobe that still work this season or can be re-purposed - a colorful scarf can be worn as a belt or to dress up a plain straw hat.

In a classy way, they could definitely get me to come into the shop or visit the website again. By complimenting my great choices so far, telling me how good I already look, addressing my real pain of "I've got nothing to wear!!!!!", making really practical suggestions, not over-selling. Even overt selling statements like these when framed as helpful information will get me buying again  "Splurge on some up-to-the-minute accessories to give your everyday outfits the wow-factor".  "Get those sexy red high heels and hit the town straight from work in your black suit". "Nothing to wear? Start with a basic grey dress then add ________ (fill in the blank)". 

It is all about me, my wardrobe, how I feel about myself, it's about saving me time and frustration, giving me useful ideas.

Another really simple idea, a personalized email to make sure everything I bought fits me and more importantly makes me feel great? Instead of a stock-standard boring email, they send me a highly personalized note inviting me to engage further.

True friend becomes true believer.

I start to really believe that my purchases matter to them and that they care about one thing: making me look great.

Can you see how just doing the same as all of the other companies is not really enough in today's overcrowded marketplace? You have to do it differently. Come up with ways to truly delight your customer. Turn them into true fans and evangelists for your company and product.

Photo from Veer

Read more about the Customer Relationship Groups here.