Beyond the exchange of money: Customers for life
Only 17% of consumers believe retailers care about their experience post-purchase. And without post-purchase attention, the right outcomes stop at the point of sale. While some leading companies are ahead of this new reality, many companies are still catching up to it, and a few—unfortunately—are still catching on to it. Yet, top companies get 75 percent of their revenues from repeat purchases, which means they are paying attention to what happens after the sale.
An excellent customer experience must last for the entire customer journey, from product awareness to replenishment. Otherwise, companies are losing out on the potential lifetime value of loyal repeat customers.
Our client experience shows four key areas can significantly impact value for customers:
Design sales and support
Too many times, a product or service is designed in a silo and then foisted upon teams to just “make it work.” Some companies are chasing a better way, though. They ensure the customer is represented in the design process, asking teams to consider how the customer will interact with the product and potential related use cases.
Tactics like building self-activation in, to addressing sustainability, to designing products that “self-heal” are already happening at companies that incorporate customer insights into their design process. Not only do these actions help meet customer needs, it takes the burden off of consumers.
Sell solutions instead of products
Luxury rental brand Onefinestay announced its Higher Living program in early 2018, meant to take the brand beyond a transactional relationship with consumers into their daily lives post-purchase. It offers free, round-the-clock concierge service for an entire year after a stay at one of its vacation rental properties. Not only does this help it learn more about its customers’ habits, it puts the company in the role of trusted provider of services for a longer period of time—increasing the odds that customers will book their next stay through the company.
The leaders in customer engagement and centricity remember one thing above all else: every product or service is only valuable when it fits into the context of customers’ daily lives. A product that does that is a solution. A product that doesn’t is an expendable commodity.
Intelligent outreach and engagement
Across channels, personalization is not only possible, it’s necessary. Modern inboxes are buzzing with offers, updates, confirmations from brands that the consumer has engaged with – culminating in almost 120 billion daily consumer emails sent and received globally.
With the advent of AI and analytics, every company (properly equipped) can know how its customers like to interact with them in various contexts. It’s not that customers don’t want to be contacted. They want it to happen at the right time, with the right message, via the right channel, cutting through the distractions.
For example, Volvo’s AI Program uses AI-powered data to predict when cars need to be serviced and what parts need to be repaired/replaced. By analyzing over one million events every week to predict each part’s breakdown rate, customer support can recommend service and maintenance plans to customers before the part breaks and creates a bigger problem. Recognizing normal patterns of use and anticipating needs before they happen gives brands an edge over the majority of their competitors, making its messaging and outreaches more relevant.
Use your brand as a learning lab
A growing number of consumers want companies to know about them, using that information to better tailor their experience. Almost one-third (30 percent) of consumers expect all types of company representatives and sales associates to know more about them and their preferences.
We help clients address that need through carefully designed experimentation that covers all channels—from physical store interaction, to mobile app purchases, to a customer’s online story. When put together in a thoughtful way, it provides insights for continuous learning, such as purchase patterns. Applying these learnings to the post-purchase journey helps brands learn about how to better serve their most valuable customers—investing in areas that move the needle the most for the most people.
Moving beyond the click
In the post-digital world, there will be less and less friction after each customer purchase. Brand leaders are making it happen now. Knowing more about their customers, gathering information from each and every interaction, they ease the journey. They are able to predict new use cases that fit customer needs, anticipating them before they occur. From post-purchase setup, to initial use and learning, to day-to-day use and reliance, and new use cases, companies will eliminate pain points and provide more targeted products and services.
Nine out of ten consumers are more likely to shop with brands that recognize them, remember them, and provide them with relevant offers and recommendations.4 It’s not just about the numbers, though. As products and services become more sophisticated and complex, customers will require more care, training and outreach to unlock their value. Already, 40 percent of customers believe post-purchase experiences make up the most memorable aspects of the brand experience overall.
Moving from being a purveyor of products to being a true part of your customer’s ecosystem means paying attention after the sale. Lifetime customers are earned and created, one customer journey at a time. Don’t let post-purchase opportunities languish. They’re a key part of the successful customer journey.