Do you fear that technology and social media marketing will mean the end of the personal touch with your clients?
Not to worry. Buzz-worthy businesses are both high touch and high tech.
John Jantsch, in The Referral Engine, says that in a high-tech, high-touch business, “the primary decision filter for every marketing process, customer touchpoint, and tactic is how technology can make the customer experience more fun, more convenient, more engaging, and more frequent.”
Jantsch has developed an Ideal Customer Life Cycle. Let’s see how high-tech, high-touch translates at each of its seven steps.
- This is when your potential customer first learns about you. Are you communicating a clear message about what makes you stand out from all the other businesses in your field? Do you know your ideal customer, and are all your marketing communications designed for that person?
- Is your presence, both web, and physical space, attractive? What message is it sending? Does it make your ideal customer feel welcome and comfortable? Do tools like your e-newsletter make it easy for prospects to learn more about your company before making a commitment?
- Jantsch says this can be the trickiest spot. It’s where you’re nurturing a fledgling relationship with your prospect. Your online content must be truly helpful and clear. What’s more, every experience that the prospect has with every person in your firm – every single one -- will either add to trust or undermine it.
- Can you find ways to offer samples of your product or service? These could take the form of trial offers, free evaluations, or educational workshops. Samples like this are also opportunities for you to test the customer’s interest. A sample can also be a good way to gain permission for further contact.
- At this stage, Jantsch reminds us that “expectations are everything.” Make sure that you exceed your customers’ expectations, and you’ll be highly referable. How you educate customers about your process helps to set expectations, so institute processes accordingly.
- Once you’ve made the sale, keep educating your customers. Make them feel like they are getting insider information to help them get the most value from your product. Also never assume that your processes gave them the best possible experience. Survey them, and actually use what they tell you to improve your service.
- The sale is not the end of the cycle. Converting your customers into an extension of your sales force is. Have you ever thought about creating a peer-to-peer customer advisory group? What about an online discussion room for users of your product, or even in-person networking opportunities?
When you habitually thrill customers with their experiences with you, throughout this cycle, you’ve got yourself a referral dynamo.
Gentlemen and ladies, start your engines.
What are you going to start doing today to use technology to create more high-touch business relationships?