It’s a well-worn rule of thumb that you have little more than 10 seconds to impress someone with your website. Its design and, more importantly, your content will either draw in and convert someone into a loyal customer or allow them to remain a digital transient. You only have seconds to convince them.
Brick and mortar faces a dilemma of its own, even if it isn’t an extremely short timeframe. They have a limited number of chances to understand the customer’s psychology in visiting a store and what it takes to turn customers into fans.
This sounds harsh but consumers and retailers have become a blur to each other. The demands of real-time online and in-person activity are a significant challenge that many organizations have yet to rise and meet. Nobody wants to invest in a product or service only to feel the relationship ended as soon as the money was exchanged — customers do not want to feel neglected after the point of purchase. Your chance to turn customers into loyal fans is very, very fleeting.
And you really have no excuse.
We create and hold enough customer information to immediately build a picture of them that goes beyond the initial relationship or their history. What’s more, social media and social networking creates the opportunity for a business to be “ambiently aware” of customer activity at all times as customers leave their digital footprints everywhere for us to follow.
It is no longer a simple “push and pull” world reserved for marketing and call-centers, barking at the customer and reacting to events after they happen. Taking that newfound awareness and engaging with the customer across any number of channels: social, mobile, web, retail, and you begin to anticipate their every whim and move.
Consider the following old-world scenario: you walk into a store, pick up some goods and your card is declined. Embarrassed and irate, you walk away to make a phone call only to be held in a queue for the next available agent. That agent asks you why you’re calling and then has to pass you to another department to solve your problem.
Fast forward to today: you walk into a store, your smartphone automatically checks you in, you pick up some goods and your card is declined. Only this time before your cheeks flush, your bank calls to explain it was their error, to try again and to accept a redeemable voucher tied to your card for a store you’ve recently shopped at. The customer is happy, the merchant is happy and the bank comes out a hero.
It really is that simple.
In both cases the bank and merchant have enough invested to warrant something a little more personal. In the second scenario, the bank has built processes around that actionable data and information. And in those processes are built those precious seconds that can either turn a customer into a raving fan or just raving mad.
Opportunity is all around through acting quickly on customer data. Once, I stepped off a flight and checked into the airport and city via Foursquare only to be quickly greeted within minutes by a local pub in town offering me a discounted meal and drink. That turned me into a fan almost instantaneously and I took them up on their offer.
This is a perfect example of what I termed ambient awareness earlier; they didn’t know me yet but by being aware of me they took advantage of the information in front of them.
But perhaps one of the best, recent examples of loyal fans came to light in the wake of the NYT-Tesla test drive tussle. Not only did Tesla owners jump to defend the brand and the cars they’ve bought but they also took to the streets to recreate the now infamous test drive route and shared their data with the world.
Creating a loyal customer begins with using the information they share in a moderated and personalized way but, in return, when they convert into a fan they become more than happy to share a lot more because of the reward it brings, and in Tesla’s case it’s not a transactional reward but an intrinsic one.
Loyal fans want to belong to the brand, not be consumed by it.
Customers are everywhere, their information is everywhere and you have to be everywhere. But you only have moments to turn information into opportunity, opportunity into a customer, and that customer into a fan. The data is there… make the time to act on it.
Are you still listening? This message will self destruct in 10 seconds.
Read the whitepaper for an in-depth look on how to turn your customers into fans through strategies in social, mobile, loyalty, exclusive content, and gamification.