“It costs five to 10 times more to attract a new customer than it does to keep an existing one.” That classic business quote is ingrained in most marketers’ brains – I know it is in mine. But I bring it up because it’s more important than ever for B2B marketers to break down business silos and not consider their job done once an initial sale is made.
If marketers don’t make it a priority to ensure customers enjoy an ongoing positive experience with their brands, the risks are palpable: first, customers won’t be back to spend more, and worse, they may communicate their negative experience online for all to see. Today’s most successful companies not only strive to create customers for the long haul, but also to provide positive experiences that turn customers into unofficial referral partners.
Getting to that point won’t happen overnight, and the onus isn’t just on marketers to make it happen. It’s takes a complete company commitment. To get you started, here are three marketing best practices that have worked well for me and my team when it comes to putting customers first.
- Enable immediate communications: Instant communication across multiple channels is expected these days – especially by emerging Generations Y and Z. While email is the dominant, preferred communications channel, others should be considered as well, including live chat (with or without a bot) and social media. The point is, most consumers today prefer not to have a phone or in-person conversation until they are at or near the end of their purchase process. To help facilitate information gathering for your customers and prospects, post a frequently asked questions (FAQs) page on your website, be responsive on social media, and of course, always be sure to route emailed questions to the right person for immediate response.
- Be a teacher: Remember, your B2B customers typically come to you not just to “buy something” but to solve a business challenge. So take a consultative approach by communicating your understanding and empathy of their problem, outline potential solution approaches, and clearly explain how your solution compares to others. Don’t merely convey this on your website; invest in materials such as blogs, videos, whitepapers, newsletters or other mediums that are intended to advise on best practices. Do this also for implementing and using your solution, and provide tips, examples and unique use cases from customers that are doing it best. If done well, your market will recognize your expertise and come to you when they’re ready to implement a solution.
- Measure your customers’ experience: Studies show there is often a big disconnect between customers’ actual experiences with a brand and the experience the brand believes it provides. To make sure you have a good sense of what your company looks like from the customer’s lens, invest in customer surveys, interviews, user groups or customer advisory boards to not only address disconnects or bottlenecks and reduce costs, but also to increase customer “stickiness” and uncover new business opportunities and revenue streams. One study found that companies that earn $1 billion annually can expect to earn, on average, an additional $700 million within 3 years of investing in customer experience improvements. That’s huge!
While finding and converting new customers is a central role of marketers, you need not stop there when it comes to generating real revenue for your company. Taking care of customers, meeting their ongoing needs and prioritizing their success is a role that marketers should own. This means putting budget and resources toward making the customer experience shine.
How do you prioritize the customer experience with your marketing?
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