When it comes to business growth, most people think about reaching new customers or new markets. And while reaching new customers is an important way to grow a business, the fastest way to achieve growth in your business often lies in another area. In order to grow a business for the long-term, there are three key experiences that must be managed. Let’s take a look at what they are and how this is done.
This is the part of the experience that is usually focused on, as the key to growing a business. It is here, where people have not yet developed any loyalty toward your business, that you are the most vulnerable to competition. Competing effectively in this area is really about making it easy for people to find you, and find out about what makes your business so special. This is where you educate people and set their expectations for what their experience will be like with you during and after the purchase.
Usually when people think of managing the purchase experience they think of making it easy for the customer to make the purchase. That may involve things like offering multiple ways to make payment – cash, check, credit card, debit card, electronic check, etc. If the transaction size is large, financing options may also be offered to make the purchase easier for the customer.
The part of the purchase experience that usually offers the most room for improvement has to do with capitalizing on the momentum that has been created when the customer initiated the purchase. Capitalizing on this momentum is really about recommending other products or services that the customer may want at this time. In order for this to be effective, this has to be helpful for the customer. This means that what you are suggesting needs to be related to the need that they are attempting to satisfy with this purchase. Amazon.com usually does a good job of this. Amazon is good about letting me know what other customers who purchased this product also purchased. If you’ve shopped with Amazon very much, you’ve found this at times to be very helpful. Suggesting an up-sell or a cross-sell at the time of purchase not only allows the customer to better fill the need that they are attempting to fill with this purchase, it also increases the size of the transaction.
When it comes to managing a person’s experiences with a business, most of the attention is lavished on the pre-purchase side of things and very little is lavished on the post-purchase side. This is a huge mistake because this is the area where your business is the least vulnerable to competition when things are done right.
It is much more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to retain an existing one. This means that focusing on the post-purchase side of things offers great opportunity for growing your bottom line.
The post-purchase experience is not only about providing good customer service, it is about staying in touch with your customer and suggesting ways that you can continue to add value to them and ways that they can share their experience with you with others in the form of testimonials and / or social media interaction.
Often, way too much attention is focused on getting customers and way too little attention is focused on keeping them and multiplying them. Create extraordinary experiences at each of the three stages of purchase and you’ll be rewarded with a loyal and growing customer base.