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Communities Build Better Customer Experience

Jan 14, 2015

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Technology

The 6 Stages of the Customer Lifecycle



Your prospective customers trust the opinions of their peers more than they trust even your best-crafted marketing messages. The most effective thing you can do to influence their purchase decision is empower brand advocates to do your word-of-mouth marketing for you.

Communities Build Better Customer Experience The 6 Stages of Customer Lifecycle EngagementDownload this eBook, Communities Build Better Customer Experience - The 6 Stages of Customer Lifecycle Engagement. Learn how you can leverage your community to turn prospects into customers and ultimately into loyal, brand advocates.

  • 1. Communities BuildBetter Customer ExperienceThe 6 Stages of Customer Lifecycle Engagement DiscoverAdvocate Evaluate BondBuyExperiencea publication of

2. The Customer LifecycleImagine this: a young manlets call him Joeyis in the market for a sound system.Hes never bought one before, so he turns to Google to begin researching what to buy.ContentsA number of different results pop up. Some of them are paid advertisements. Many ofthem are the marketing sites of various audio equipment companies. Some of themThe Customer Lifecycle ....................1are communities either stand-alone or hosted on a company site and home to 1 Stage 1: Discovery................................ 3conversations of the people who actually own the sound systems. 2 Stage 2: Evaluate.................................. 5Joey ignores the ads and marketing messages. Like all good Millenials, hes a skeptic. 3 Stage 3: Buy................................................ 7He does, however, pay attention to the reviews and community conversations. Someof the community members remind him of himselfin their early twenties and with a4 Stage 4: Experience............................. 9passion for electronic music and loud bass. He makes a buying decision based on these 5 Stage 5: Bond......................................... 11customer testimonials and goes to his local store (Amazon, I believe its called) to make 6 Stage 6: Advocate............................. 13the purchase.His new equipment arrives a few weeks later. He has a bit of trouble setting it up, but he Are You Ready to Get Started? ................................ 15returns to the community embedded on the companys Website, where he finds that heisnt the first person to have difficulty differentiating between connector cables. Becauseof that, his question has already been addressed and answered. Hes able to set up hisnew system easily and uneventfully.A few months later, Joey decides to waterproof his speakers, but he wants to make surethis wont cause serious problems. He returns to the community to confer with its armyof employees, super techies, customers, and other people who love to listen to musicoutside when its raining. They give him the green light, as well as some useful tips andwaterproofing best practices.At this point, Joey is no longer a one-time customer, but a loyal one who is willing toadvocate for the brand, answer the questions of new prospects, and stick up for the Building A Compelling Customer Experience With A Community: The 6 Stages of the Customer Lifecycle Engagement 1 3. company when other customers have issues and get upset. The next time he needs a product that the brand makes, hell have apropensity to choose it automatically because he trusts the brand to produce quality electronics and be responsive and helpful.Cultivating these types of satisfied, loyal customers is not necessarily an easy task. It requires that you take a comprehensiveapproach to customer experience management. As explored in this paper, there are six stages in the customer lifecycle, andwhen each step is handled correctly by you and the people you work with, your company can deliver an excellent experience thatdrives customers to the next step, perpetuating the cycle.To be successful, you also need to fully leverage the opportunity presented by social. This means going beyond broadcastingmarketing messages to the fan bases youve built. You have to truly engage with them at every stage in the customer lifecycleand in a way that feels personal and relevant to them.Lets explore the six stages in more detail. PotentialDiscoverCustomers Advocate EvaluateLoyaltyThePromotions ProgramsBrand BondBuy Existing Customers Experience Figure 1. The 6 Stages of Customer LifecycleBuilding A Compelling Customer Experience With A Community: The 6 Stages of the Customer Lifecycle Engagement 2 4. 1 Stage 1: DiscoveryThe first stage in the customer lifecycle is Discovery. This is the stage where a potentialcustomer has just realized he has a need that your product or service could fulfill. He mayor may not be aware of your company yet. Hes just beginning to seek out solutions, soyou want to make sure that your brand and relevant products are visible and searchable Customer communities are:and you can quickly respond to any questions or comments that come your way.A place to connect customers to each other online to talk about yourThis means having a presence on relevant social networksFacebook for sure, andproductsprobably Twitter, YouTube, and even Pinterest and Slideshare, depending on yourProactively managed by companiesbusiness. Youre also going to want to have a branded customer community (see sidebar)so your prospects can access the most up-to-date information about your products andHave strong linkages to social networks, so they can easily sharegain immediate access to your customers, employees, and brand advocates for honest information with like-minded friendsanswers to their questions. Full of relevant, accurate content provided by people like them, vettedGet Satisfaction is the leading provider of customer communities. Unlike many social for accuracy by the brand, and easilynetworks, Get Satisfaction communities are highly optimized for search engines due accessed so that its relevant toto their unique URL structure and huge platform that facilitates customer-driven members changing context (shopper, new user seeking service or technicalconversations. So when prospective customers go to Google to begin their Discovery assistance, etc.)process, your Get Satisfaction customer community is likely to show up in the top one ortwo results. (The sidebar on Pampers illustrates how this works.)Designed to help them assess the trustworthiness of peer answers and commentsCommunity conversations pack a heavy SEO punch no matter where they are, so its agood idea to embed them into your Website, landing pages, and eCommerce pages. That Tightly integrated with the companys Website so shoppers can easily viewway, your content is sure to turn up when prospects are searching for products, and they social conversations and opinions ashave access to conversations about the products or services they are researching. Andthey research products on the brandssince communities are optimized for response, itll be easy for you to identify and respondWebsiteto questions that come up. Building A Compelling Customer Experience With A Community: The 6 Stages of the Customer Lifecycle Engagement 3 5. Pampers Gets Discovery Right!So many new mothers are interested in the question, How can my child model for Pampers? that its one of the FAQs on thePampers site. Of the 7.9 million results Google reports, the Get Satisfaction community topic page for this question is at the topof the listahead of Pampers own blog post on the subject, which is result #2. The unique URL structure of Get Satisfaction,plus the large amount of customer engagement taking place in the community, means its extremely likely to rank well in searchresults. Those factors, combined with the strong linkages to the Pampers social presence, means the Pampers community isincredibly easy for prospects to discover and engage with. Building A Compelling Customer Experience With A Community: The 6 Stages of the Customer Lifecycle Engagement 4 6. 2 Stage 2: EvaluateOnce your potential customer has discovered several good product options, he begins the Evaluate stage in the process. In thepre-social era, this might have involved talking to friends and family members, going in to a store to ask employees questions,and seeing what articles or reviews he could get his hands on. Things are not so different now, but the resources and opinionsavailable have been greatly expanded and amplified by social.Your prospective customers now have instant access to the intimate opinions of friends, acquaintances, and complete strangers.They trust the opinions of their peers more than your marketing messages or even those of thought leaders and influencers. 84%of Millenials say social opinionseven from people they dont know wellinfluence their purchase decisions 1 . This can work toyour advantage or to your disadvantage, depending on what people are saying online, so you want to make sure youre activelyengaging with your customers on social to provide them with a good experience.You dont have to single handedly manage your brands social reputation. By actively empowering the most satisfied andknowledgeable customers on your community to act as Champions and speak out on your behalf, you can leverage them tobe a powerful extension of your marketing department. You can do this by incentivizing them, implementing a formal Champsprogram (like the one offered by the Get Satisfaction platform), or even just by asking them to get involved. (Dont forget to thankthem when you notice that they have contributed to your community.)Your company cant afford not to encourage and expose these social conversations. And a customer community is the bestplatform to facilitate them in a way that is engaging, outcome oriented, and search-engine friendly. When you use the GetSatisfaction platform to support your community, your prospective customer will be impressed by how easy it is to find and aswell as access the reviews of their peers. At the same time, you can demonstrate how you are to respond to their needs andquestions.1 (Bazaarvoice and Kelton Research,Advertising Age,August 2, 2012.) Building A Compelling Customer Experience With A Community: The 6 Stages of the Customer Lifecycle Engagement 5 7. Niceneasy Customers are Their Best MarketersWith something as personal as hair color, its important the referral comes from a trusted source. Thats why Niceneasy uses acustomer community to provide a forum for customers and prospects to share authentic, objective advice and tips around haircolor. In the Niceneasy community, 75 percent of the questions are pre-purchase que