Social media means that people are able to share their opinions when they receive poor service and buy sub-standard products. Brands can’t hide. Products and service have to be at least good to avoid being called out online.
Promoting a brand that offers poor customer service is a demoralising task for a marketer. That’s often exemplified by this operational model:
But this doesn’t have to be the case…
Marketers should be confident in using customer insight to change culture, products or business models to better suit customer needs. Marketers need to become customer champions.
So how does a marketer go about making this change?
Here’s our 3 steps to becoming a customer champion:
- Step 1 – gather insight about your customers
- Step 2 – rate your current customer experience against these insights
- Step 3 – become a customer champion
This step is about working out what customers value about your offering, and what they need in order to have a positive customer experience with your product, brand or service.
As modern marketers we’re in a unique position to understand the customer through data. Data can come in many forms from the traditional – surveys and focus groups – to the new – social listening and web analytics.
It’s important to use a range of data sources to ensure bias is reduced. Simply listening to what the customer thinks they want can lead you in the wrong direction.
Think Henry Ford’s attributed quote – “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Getting information about what customers actually do as opposed to what they say is essential.
Example: Let’s say you’re working for an insurance company. Every bit of research and customer insight mapping your product team do says that price is the only factor: ‘It has to be cheap.’ But when you speak to customers and look though social media you can see that, yes, they want it cheap but not at the expense of trust. They’re also interested in features and customer service. So ‘cheap’ then becomes ‘value for money’ — which is different enough to be significant.
Current customer experience
Now that we understand the customer, we can map out their experiences with a product, brand or service. We can create a journey map that shows touch points (on and offline). We can overlay how we’ll measure these touch points and which teams within a business are responsible for each part of the journey. One way of validating the journey is to complete the journey yourself. Give it a go, it can often uncover surprising insights!
Once the current customer experience is mapped, we can start to compare this with the insights we gained in step one. Do customers get what they want from a product or service? Do customers have a positive or negative experience? Are there any blockers to customers having a positive experience? Usually there are significant gaps between the customer desired experience and their actual experience. This is why customers need you – the customer champion.
Become a customer champion
Traditionally, the marketing department wouldn’t take this insight any further. They’d use it to try and create messages that resonate with customers. But this can become a thankless task if the product or service isn’t right for the customer. Therefore, the modern marketer needs to be a strong advocate for the customers that challenge the brand, service or product to make positive change. This is easier said than done, but armed with data we can create strong business cases that show the impact on the bottom line.
Once these positive changes have been implemented you can take comfort in being able to promote a product or service that is tailored towards customer needs as opposed to the needs of the brand. The customer champion model now looks like this:
The benefits of taking the customer champion approach are clear. From a sales perspective, aligning customer needs to customer experience can lead to better sales and greater brand loyalty. For companies struggling to compete this can be the advantage that makes all the difference.
And for marketers? They gain a greater sense of purpose and worth by making fundamental changes within an organisation. They feel more confident when selling a product. They have made a positive change in the world – customers are happier.
What’s stopping you becoming a customer champion?