I am currently in the process of completing Hubspot’s Inbound Marketing Certification for the second time in 18 short months (the certification is up annually – look at that for a marketing tactic), and something in the first lesson grabbed my attention: ”Information empowers people with the means to make their own choices.”
At face value, this is a pretty obvious statement. Of course information empowers people to make their own decisions. That’s everyone’s prerogative, right?
Recently, I was in the market for a triathlon suit. As someone who had never done a triathlon before, I knew pretty much nothing about a triathlon suit, aside from knowing that the Brownlee brothers are people I should aspire to. I knew even less about the market itself, what products were considered ‘winners’ in the eyes of the consumer, and what may seriously alter my chances of completing the event. So, I had to get my research cap on (nothing like the swimming cap I had to wear on the day of the triathlon – which by the way, was awful).
My first stop, as is the case with the majority of Y and Z gens in the 21st century, was to ask the ‘God’ of the Internet world – Google. The result? Numerous blog posts, discussion topics, online retailers, photos, offers…the list goes on. What was the most powerful, however, was the customer reviews.
More and more, we like to be educated when making a purchase, not sold to. A colleague of mine was also in a similar situation recently where customer reviews were a key influencer in her buying decision. She was in the market for new, padded cycling shorts that offered comfort, and like me, didn’t know a great deal about this industry. (Yes, we’re a sporty bunch here at Cherwell). So, like me, she relied on utilising customer reviews to form the basis of her buying decision.
In the ‘old days’ (I use that term loosely), salespeople used be to ‘gatekeepers’. They held all the answers, and prospects had to speak with them first to determine whether their offering was right (or not) for them. Not anymore, the power has shifted. The average business buyer completes 57% of their sales process before ever contacting a salesperson (B2B Inbound Marketer), proving that the power is no longer in the hands of the sales person.
Do not underestimate the power of your customer’s experiences. Especially when you consider that it takes 12 positive customer experiences to make up for one negative experience (Parature), and that by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator (Customers 2020 Report).
Customers are your most powerful advocates. These customers have more information than ever before to make informed choices, so make it easy for them. Ensure that your peers and organisation understand the importance of an effective Customer Experience strategy.