Customers love to sell your products.

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.