Many organizations have become really good at streamlining customer support and service processes. Yet, as co-managing editor of Consumerist.com Ben Popken reminds us in the foreword to Flip the Funnel -- processing is not solving.
Putting in place a good customer retention strategy is a good business move. It's also a smart branding move.
You may be familiar with the new business acquisition sales funnel or AIDA: Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action.
To address a company's ability to engage customers' social connections, Jaffe flips the acronym to ADIA: Acknowledgment, Dialogue, Incentivization, and Activation.
Maintaining a continuous dialogue with customers and focusing on their experience from the moment of purchase onward may result in powerful word of mouth for your business.
There are three key points to this strategy that are well within an organization's reach, yet keep getting overlooked.How digital and mobile require new thinking
Technology is your friend. It's not the end all be all. It will enable your business to personalize while showing its humanity. It's very reasonable to put in place systems to achieve scale. Consider tailoring those systems to differing customer segment needs and that automation is not always the answer.
And neither is blocking social networks at work. Ramon DeLeon's customer video response was more effective than Patrick Doyle's statement after a Monsters, Inc. move at Domino's. True, they addressed two different circumstances. On the credibility and likability scale, DeLeon's is a good example that customers respond to sincere and passionate gestures better.
You cannot be everywhere, yet people now can find you and talk about you literally from the palm of their hands. How are you using technology to enable customer referrals (for example)?How employees help flip the funnel
Organizations that treat their employees like gold bridge the gap in customer retention. The two are closely interconnected. Is there any doubt in your mind that a connected company would have an advantage in the marketplace?
Jaffe cites Costco's culture of taking care of one another and promoting exclusively from within, which continues to engage and energize employees on behalf of customers.
Another example is Best Buy's Blue Shirt Nation, an internal social network that has transformed Blue Shirts, the company's store employees, from a liability to an unmatched strategic asset from the inside out. Having an internal place for sharing ideas is just the beginning.
For the open approach to work, leaders need to put skin in the game, be believable, bring people together, and try things (from the Best Buy 15-slide manifesto) just like the rest of the company.How flipping the funnel is about commitment
The underlying concept in the book is about the 80:20 rule or 90:10, if you prefer. Marketing has been operating at the wrong end of that rule, by focusing on new customer acquisition. Customer retention requires a new level of commitment from an organization -- one that puts customers service in the new marketing seat.
People want to recommend good services and products to their networks. Therefore, customer experience can truly transform your business. Fostering a culture of access, collaboration, and responsiveness is a step in the right direction of commitment to service excellence.
And with the widespread adoption of social media, organizations are receiving continuous feedback about their brands and service -- and will need to communicate what they're doing about that feedback. As Jaffe reports for Virgin, many companies that are already participating recognize that this investment:
- is resource intensive
- sets new expectations with customers
- requires a strong stomach (feedback can be brutally honest)
There is no going back. There's nothing back there to go to, your customers have changed the way they think about purchases, forever. This is not about the crisis anymore. It's about gaining perspective and reprioritizing.
Jaffe addresses the final part of the book to the third customer -- you. How can you flip the funnel for yourself? What if you thought about yourself as your customer? What would you do differently?
[Disclosure: I received a copy of Flip the Funnel from Joseph Jaffe, who I met in person very recently as SxSW. My admiration for his achievements is genuine and in no way driven by his charming South African accent. This review and recommendation is based upon the quality of the material - and not on how I obtained it.]
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