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The journey from a stranger to fan
Posted By Zeeshan Khan, May 22, 2014, in Neuromarketing

Why are companies obsessed by having more and more new customers all the time? To make money of course. When profits of an organization decrease, customers don’t buy much, the costs are high and so on, companies start hunting for new fresh customers. It seems like a natural plan of action, but at the end it is stupid and a waste of money. There are easier ways to make more profit. Thats why I will tell you a short story about turning customers into fans.

The stranger
Each human being who buys something starts with a need for something. There are companies which fulfill that need by delivering services or products. Now there are several steps in the journey of the potential customer. We call this potential, a stranger. Because from the point of view of the company he is someone who they don’t know. The first step is being aware of your need, we will take the following example.

A stranger has a need for buying a watch. Now he is aware of this need, because his old watch is damaged and this time he wants a different model. He starts his research, mostly online, by visiting stores, talking to friends and family and so on. After this research it is time to compare all the different models and of course the best price. This product must have the best price, quality, brand, distributor, service and so on. Now the product that fits best the needs of this stranger is selected. It looks like this decision is made rationally but a huge part that triggers the decision to buy, is done emotionally.

The customer
The company is selected and the stranger buys the watch online. Now he is not a stranger anymore, but a customer. The company has his details and they sold a product to this person by this transaction. A beautiful relationship is started. But like all other relationships both parties need to make an effort. In this case the company needs to keep the customer attracted and satisfied. Stay honest and transparent. Keep in touch with your customer and be genuinely interested. Get to know more about their needs and then offer them more and better products.

The whole buying process this customer made in the example is a part of the confirmation of the decision that the customer made. Did he understand the whole online buying process? Is the buying process easy? Is it easy to pay? Is the watch delivered for free? Can the customer choose his own day and time of delivery? Is it easy to return the watch when it doesn’t meet the expectations? All these questions and many more wander through the mind of the customer. After this buying experience he starts using it. Then the product specifications become important and the using experience starts. Is it a strong watch? Does it show the correct time and date? Is it comfortable wearing? The customer searches for a confirmation of his decision. And most important of all, do my family and friends like it? 

Turning your customer into a fan
Normally companies start hunting for more new customers. There is nothing wrong with doing that, but what about your current customers? Most companies focus on the ‘stranger - customer’ part of the whole journey. They forget the most important one: How to make this customer a fan?

If you only focus on the stranger-customer part of the whole journey it will be more expensive. Normally it costs seven times more to make a stranger a customer than to keep your customers attached to your company. And if you don’t give your customers the attention they need, then the next two things can happen:

1) The ex- customer
After a while they have again the need for buying a watch and they don’t think about you and even worse, they just leave you and go to another company. You failed giving them the attention they needed. They don’t hate you but just are not interested anymore. They are your ex-customers. They might come back one day, but at the moment you lost them.

2) The hater
Then you have the customers who had a bad experience with your company during their relationship as a customer. During all the contact moments and the moments of truth you failed keeping them happy. They just want to leave you as soon as possible, because you are not worth having a relationship with them. They really hate you. Those haters are dangerous and they tell their friends and family what an awful company you have. Those customers become haters and won’t come back anymore.

So, this is not what you want and thats why focusing on your current customers is important. It is a treasure your sitting on! Make them a fan of your company. Start giving them the attention they need. This depends on the business you are in. But there are several ways of giving attention. Just start with answering the following questions and it will guide you towards the right direction.

Do you know who your customers are? Do you know what they want? Do you know what they think of your company? When was the last time you just picked up the phone and called a customer and asked how he is doing? Do you segment your customers and give your largest customers more attention? Do you call them on their birthday or other social and important events in their lives? Do you send them a service e-mail? How are you doing during customer contact moments and moments of truth? Do you ask for feedback from your customers? Do you have any kind of web care solution? And so on.

If you fail answering these questions and you don’t do anything then you need to wake up and start connecting with your customers, before they become haters. At the end it is free marketing, when they tell their friends and family how great your service is. They just love you and are happy about everything you do. They won’t leave you easily. Start today turning your customers into fans and it will only benefit you.

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