In a recent Direct Call Solutions blog post, we discussed a few strategies for customer acquisition. We also pointed out the fundamental importance of these first three steps of the customer life cycle — that is to say, awareness, knowledge, and selection. After all, turning strangers into leads and then turning those leads into customers is the foundation for all the future success that any business will attain.
All the same, it is impossible to understate the importance of completing the final three stages of the customer lifecycle: satisfaction, retention, and advocacy. Not every customer that you acquire will go on to become a frequent buyer or a brand advocate — but the higher that your success rate in leading customers through the full customer lifecycle, the faster your company will grow.
So let’s take a look at the tail end of the customer lifecycle, examining strategies to promote customer satisfaction, customer loyalty, and brand advocacy.
This stage of the customer lifecycle may seem like a bit of an enigma. Even though it is considered the fourth step in the customer life cycle, your success or failure in generating customer satisfaction will be largely determined long before customers actually purchase your products.
Obviously, product development will predetermine user experience to a great degree. All the same, you can still help promote customer satisfaction in more immediate ways. For example, offering a helpful and friendly shopping experience will help your customers remember your brand in a more positive light. (And helping them find the product that best suits their needs will also lead to better satisfaction rates.)
Even the packaging and aesthetic design of your product, though not necessarily pragmatic, can help promote a positive perception of your product or service, thus creating a better customer experience and more brand satisfaction.
If your customers have had a positive experience with your product, they are primed to become repeat customers. All the same, it is important to understand that customer satisfaction does not automatically entail that any given customer will return, no matter how much they liked your product. It is up to you to actively pursue previous customers and get them to return.
This is oftentimes a very efficient use of marketing dollars – after all, when you market to the general public, you cannot be certain that your audience is truly interested in your product. Previous customers, however, are almost always potential buyers.
One of the best ways to improve your re-marketing campaigns is to ask customers to provide you with their contact information upon making a purchase. Though not every customer is willing to provide such info, those that do will be easy to reach next time you want to promote a big sale, distribute your e-newsletter, etc.
Brand advocates are customers who believe in your product enough to promote it to their friends, families, and social media followers — and they are a tremendous asset for any business. A repeat customer can be worth many times more than a one-and-done buyer. But a brand advocate can be worth many times more than a repeat buyer.
Customer advocates are, in a certain sense, a low-cost, low-maintenance form of marketing for your business — and a very effective one at that. After all, people are much more likely to listen to the advice and recommendations of personal acquaintances than they are to listen to a random marketing campaign! This is precisely why creating brand advocates should be a number one priority for your business. Referral campaigns and social media are two great ways of promoting brand advocacy — and if you want to learn more about creating brand advocates, keep an eye out for an upcoming Direct Call Solutions blog article on the topic!