A new McKinsey study of 20’000 consumers showed: The customer purchase decision process is not a funnel approach. It is a multi-facetted journey full of irrationality and emotion, taking place on a multitude of touch points. Some of them include the companies directly, some of them don’t.
Jeffrey Rayport calls this new sort of customers «Customers 3.0». Customers that are in power and dictate how they will purchase and consume products and services. They are well informed not only through their own research but also through their social networks, reviews, recommendations and the like. The McKinsey study found: In the active evaluation phase of a purchase, consumer driven marketing (Word of mouth, online research and reviews) is the most important factor considered by customers.
In short: Customers put higher trust in unknown reviewers than in high gloss brochures and expensive prime-time commercials.
So how do you get your customers to talk about you? Make them «active loyalists» by providing for a good customer experience. Bruce Temkin found in February, that good customer experience correlates to loyalty. In fact, he states in his latest post, that customers of companies in the top-quartile of customer experience are almost 17% more likely to recommend that company than customers of their peers in the lowest quartile. It’s time to divert some of your marketing budget from banner advertisement to efforts relating to improving your «moments of truth».
The first step to enable your customers to have good experiences is to know them. Only if you truly understand their motivation, expectations, past experiences and emotions when interacting with you or your products, you can start to think from the outside in and start to build environments that enable for great experiences and ultimately will make your customers your best sales agents for free.