Have you mapped out your customer touch and impact points in order to identify the perfect order process? Do you go the extra mile to maintain and retain your customer relationships?

Where does the customer journey begin? Is it when they read an advert in the newspaper? Speak to you in person? Hear of you through word of mouth? Why would they go to your website?

Getting into the real nitty gritty details of the customer journey and improving or optimising it as much as possible can really pay dividends for your business.

What does your business card say about you?

For many of us, the first customer touch point is our business card. What does your business card say about you? I don’t mean just the words or logo used on the card; the weight of the paper, the print colour and consistency with other marketing or branding are all very important. Your exception comes out in your business card. I meet a lot of people who have terrible, uninspiring business cards and sometimes I am unable to keep myself from telling them just how uninspiring they are! That might sound harsh but I think actually a little criticism of something like this can only be helpful for your business if you are able to listen and make the necessary changes.

Learning points for your business card:

  • Never a blank canvas – both sides should have print messages
  • Big, easy to find contact numbers and email address
  • Always quality: thicker paper for the luxury impact but never cheap as chips, lightweight, hideous flexi paper. The card represents all your stand for…how should that feel and look?

Map out your touch points.

A great exercise is to physically map out your company touch points. I mean this as literally as is possible: put everything from your website to your business cards out on a table in front of you, in the order in which you think your customers see it. What is the style or message? Is it consistent? Does it link to your marketing material? Is it boring? The one thing you and your company will die by is boring, unmemorable and unremarkable stuff. The world is awash with boring, average, middle of the road marketing material and if yours is adding to it, is it really worth your time, money and effort spent on producing it in the first place?

Remember that once the client places an order, the impact may only have just begun on the physical side. How is your package wrapped, you proposal offered, your tissue wrap impacting? Have you considered the cross roads between eco benefits and impact needs?

Does your delivery note co-ordinate with your branding, with your invoice copy, with your letterhead, does each piece and the part it plays serve the customer with what they are looking for – fast?

If I check your company against the competition for the actual receipt of a package, the tissue, the messaging inside and out, what do you do to surprise and delight by going the extra mile? Can you print better instructions or tips for getting the best from your product?

Can you add value for your customers by sharing top 10 tips and tricks in a particular service?? Have you a service benefit you can add to each package to extend the next possible sales value?

What happens when you are less than boring?

If you are boring, most people will instantly forget about you and your business as soon as you are no longer under their noses.

When you find a way to become less boring, you become instantly memorable. When people remember you, even if they have no use for your product or service, they are more likely to recommend you to their friends – if only because yours is the only business in your niche who they can actually remember. Become infectiously engergetic with the clarity of your messaging, the originality of your written word, the way you approach people on Linked In…at every point reflect your brand.

You need to find the funny or unusual thing about your business, and use that to your advantage.

An important note here: it’s all very well thinking something is funny or novel, but you must test it before paying to have leaflets printed or an advertising campaign run. It’s also important to look at how your funny new idea balances with your actual brand. Find a way to be humorous or different whilst still sticking with your core brand values. This might take a little while and a lot of brainstorming; the brainstorming is a valuable part of the relentless improvement game that never ceases to look for better ways. Recently we improved our Scentered box e-commerce packaging… but forgot to underline the reasoning of why we used recycled (slightly more expensive to us) cartons, and to share the message we want people to reuse, repurpose and recycle…

Who is your avatar?

You must know your ideal customer personas. And do not tell me that your ideal customer is everyone! I would aim for about three avatars (maximum), and really get to know them. Which other brands do they like? What do they do in their spare time? What is their income bracket to afford your product concept? The shopping channel QVC has seven avatars, and they have put a huge amount of time and research into making sure they know everything about these people – so that they can sell to them effectively. Your brand and marketing are about your customers, not about you – so you need to know your ideal customer, and you need to know them exceptionally well. These days it’s fairly easy to place advertising literally anywhere in the world – but is it where your customer is? Would you advertise your home lighting products in an airport, or your business travel accessories in a children’s magazine?

Think about your online presence.

These days for many of us the first customer touch point will be online – either on social media or your website. Is your website a world class entry point? Take a moment to look at it and give it a score out of ten. I would say that you will never get to a ten – things are always changing and evolving – but you should always be aiming for a ten. Changing and updating your website should be a regular housekeeping task, and something you don’t put off for another day. Your website is the funnel that feeds everything else in the business. It needs to be your top priority; in this day and age you simply cannot expect to succeed with a website that only scores a three or a four. Make use of a service such as Peek, which will send you a video of a person using your website for the first time. This feedback can be invaluable in ensuring your website is working exactly as you hoped and expected it would – and in seeing exactly where it lets you down. Ask your important customers to comment on the user experience of the site; always keep asking people for feedback.

How do you make your service memorable?

Merchandising can be an outstanding way to market your business, if it is done properly. If I come to a meeting with you, what do I leave with that helps me to remember you and your service? Is a fridge magnet or notepad relevant to your business? Whatever you do, do not get cheap plastic pens printed with your logo as a sure fire complementary solution – that’s not giving someone a good, lasting impression of your business. Wiggle give Haribo sweets with purchases and people talk about it being the sway point on where they make ther online purchases; this brings them even more recoemndation sales.

When I first started Pacific Direct, when things like websites and computers were barely even heard of, I met a housekeeping manager whose office was awash with paper. I had big, yellow paperclips made up with our logo and before long I was receiving calls from other housekeepers who had seen our clips and wanted one too. I could have given that housekeeper a pen, a telephone pad, a fridge magnet, a tin of mints – but I identified that what she really needed was something to keep all of her paperwork together. Of course, these days I should imagine housekeepers’ paperwork is mostly done online so there is no way I would still be sending out big yellow paperclips. Your merchandising should be on point, and you should regularly check to ensure it is still relevant to your customers. If nothing else, for free, make someone smile at every point you interact so that your customers really get to feel the important value you bring by trusting in your brand and your products or service.

Written by Vicky Charles

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