Many brands do not invest in customer experience after the initial sale as they believe their customers will return after onboarding is complete. Is this still the case today? What are the merits of building out a thorough customer experience journey so that brands can maximize revenue generation?
Table of Contents
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Introduction – Customer Experience
Customer experience is not just about the sale. There are four components to the ensure customer experience journey including Engage, Acquisition, Onboard, and Support. Most brands spend their budgeted dollars on engaging potential customers leading to sales (“acquisition”).
The care and support shown initially tend to drop off during the Onboard phase. After that, it could be downhill with the Support phase through customer service.
Customers have not taken this hot and cold treatment of customer experience well over the years. The inconsistent setting of expectations versus reality is driving new and existing customers to abandon beloved brands. As a result, brands are not maximizing their revenue generation potential.
Hi, this is Retail Mashup. I’m Larry. And I’m DeAnn. Retail Mashup is a podcast that talks about the intersections between the retail industry and customer experience, and we’re locating how we can help retailers generate more revenue through that customer experience. DeAnn, what are we talking about today?
Customer Experience Doesn’t End After Sale
Well, I’ve been thinking a lot about the responsibility of brands and retailers. What happens with their product after the sale? Where does the customer experience stop? A lot of retailers do a great job focusing on tools to help the shopper navigate their journey to get to that sale.
It’s a great experience. But after they’ve paid their money and walk out the door, it’s crickets. Is there a responsibility now to ensure that the customer’s experience with that product, on an ongoing basis is a good one? And is that fair to retailers? Is it fair to shoppers? I think retail is at a major change point.
The Business Model Has To Change
The business model has to change. Flexibility is gonna be off the charts. The ability to be as fluid as possible is going to be essential for retailers. Customer experience extending well beyond the sale is going to be part of that fluidity that’s going to be needed because there’s so much competition. There’s so much growing expectation of a customer.
When you are talking about the product, teaching a customer, what the benefits are, and helping them compare and evaluate to make that purchase, that’s all part of the customer experience. Once they get home, you still need to make sure they’re satisfied with the product, and that they remember how to use it correctly so that their experience with the product is good.
Case Study – Kroger Builds Out Its Customer Experience With Content
A good example is Kroger. It’s “Hatch Chili” season here in the south of the US. I was born and raised in Canada. I know nothing about Hatch chilies, but I have learned that I love the way they taste. Well, hatch chili season is a big thing in the South. The grocery stores all stock these hatch chilies and I have no idea what to do with them.
My local Kroger has not only given me a coupon for hatch chilies, but they’ve also given me three links to learn how to prepare them, how to roast them if I wanna roast them, how to store them to freeze so I can make up a big batch, eat, and use it over the winter. I just thought, wow, that’s, that’s reaching out past the sale to make sure my experience with that product is a good one.
Case Study – ThermoWorks
It got me thinking about other retailers doing that. On the same barbecue theme, because I’m blending in with the natives here. I ordered a meat thermometer and it arrived in a box with a little tiny package of jelly beans I think there were six beans in there, not very much-a little package. Just the thought of a little thank you, a nice touch and a little extra something in that package made me feel good about the company and about my purchase.
That they cared enough about me to say thank you with something above and beyond the product. I think helping customers beyond the purchase and not necessarily with customer service but with customer experience. Making sure that the interaction with the product on an ongoing basis meets the customer’s standards.
The Merits of Protein Powder
I wish more brands would think about investing money in engaging customers after the onboarding process is complete. Just as much as you love barbecuing, I exercise and drink a lot of protein shakes. I’ve used many online and store abroad brands. What I’ve noticed is that after I purchased and used the protein powder, the brand itself has never reached out to ask me how I feel or tell me how best to maximize the effects of the protein powder.
It’s unfortunate because there is so much advertising involved in telling people the merits of protein powder. No one ever asked the questions such as “Did you have an allergic reaction because protein powder may have milk products in it?”
If you’re lactose intolerant, then maybe you will feel discomfort. Not all brands are the same. And so not all protein powders are the same. Some people may have allergic reactions and some don’t. It’s essential to engage with your customers on how they feel.
What about the flavoring if it’s new?
What about when you use protein powder? Did you see any gains? More importantly, having that partnership with a local gym can help the protein powder manufacturer know what else they need.
What else can I produce for the individuals who are training hard at the gym and looking to see results? Once people see direct results and they owe it to the protein powder, then they will tell their friends.
Cosmetics and Skincare
I see this as well in cosmetics. A lot of people buy cosmetics and could say many different amazing merits of using that particular product. Although a lot of people may include information as part of testimonials or feedback directly online, brands don’t reach out.
“Here is my promise in three weeks that your face will be glowing.”
Well, in three weeks, there is no method or direct communication between the customer and the brand to say, “Hey, it’s been three weeks, how are things going?” now that things have improved, there are other products for you that can help maintain that glow or that routine.
Once you have repeatedly used the product over 30 days, you’re likely gonna form a habit. It’s a very important point in time when brands can educate, build awareness, and show support beyond the customer service component. That’s when people don’t have a good experience and they call customer service.
Rather than having that negativity component, you should be building the positivity component by engaging the customer. I love what you said. Why not spend the money building up the process beyond onboarding to extend that connection?
I think you hit on an important point too, talking about creating repeat customers is important.
Video Games and Cheaters
Subscribers are even better. The things that you do in maintaining and ensuring a good customer experience after the purchase are what are gonna repeat business. One good example of that is video games. There’s a problem in video gaming right now with cheaters and there are some companies that are making some very strong moves to identify and eliminate the ability to cheat in video games.
The reason they’re doing that is because it’s killing the trust of their good customers who are playing legitimately. They can’t beat these cheaters. And some companies are making money selling tools to help cheaters cheat inside these video games. If you think about the direction of video games becoming a platform for selling products, that’s where the money is moving into and connecting it to the retail world.
If you are losing your good customers, your repeat business, and losing trust because everyone thinks, “Oh if I don’t pay for these cheating tools, I can’t win.” Then your business is significantly impacted by the negative.
I think customer experience beyond the purchase is something that is not done very often. It needs to become part of the strategy of a retail business model to preserve customer loyalty because repeat customers spend far more money and cost far less money to market to get to come in the doors.
It’s a revenue generation strategy to extend your customer experience beyond the purchase. I love that. I think this is gonna be a continued series where we will identify companies that have something like this done. We can showcase them.
And also helps retailers and customers learn about what they should have in terms of the next steps, and what should they expect. I look forward to talking more about it with you.
On that note, if you like this episode, please like the episode and subscribe to Retail Mashup, and we’ll talk to you next time.
* Retail Mashup made some modifications to the transcript to improve understandability and flow.
Retailers should focus on customer experience beyond the sale. This means providing customers with resources and support to help them use the product effectively, as well as reaching out to them to see how they are doing and offer additional products or services.
Here are some examples of how retailers can extend the customer experience beyond the sale:
- Providing recipe cards or cooking tips with food purchases
- Offering tutorials on how to use a product
- Sending follow-up emails to see how a customer is enjoying a product
- Offering discounts or promotions to encourage repeat purchases
By focusing on customer experience beyond the sale, retailers can build loyalty and repeat business.
Here are some additional points from the podcast:
- Customers are increasingly expecting retailers to provide a seamless and personalized experience, both before and after the sale.
- Retailers who can deliver on this expectation will be well-positioned to succeed in the competitive retail landscape.
- Customer experience is not just about customer service. It’s about creating a positive and memorable experience for the customer at every touchpoint.
- By focusing on customer experience beyond the sale, retailers can create a competitive advantage and drive long-term growth.
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