Most businesses are very good at keeping control of the most noticeable aspects of their brand like their logo or business card, but for me it’s often the unexpected and more unconventional gestures and moments that go a long way to making us fall in love with a business or brand.
It’s time to begin thinking about your brand beyond your logo and start giving customers stories to take away, experiences that they want to share. Get them talking about you and your brand to help spread awareness of what you do.
Here are a few stats to motivate you.
The story of Sausage Karma
On my business card, it has the words ‘Ask me about Sausage Karma’. This is deliberate. It’s there to act as a conversation starter and although is often met with a confused look, nearly everyone does ask and it gives me the opportunity to tell them about a brand experience that taught me so much.
So, I hear you ask, what is Sausage Karma and why would you put it on your business card?
Well, a few years ago when I was running our family hotel, we would often have guests stay with their dogs and at breakfast, we would give the dog a complimentary surprise sausage, much to the delight of the owner and of course, the dog. We did it because we loved dogs, but what I came to realise was not only did it bring us and the guests closer, those same guests would tell other dog owners about it.
This would lead to more bookings by dog owners asking if ‘we still do that sausage thing at breakfast?’.
In the end, I was ordering double the number sausages because we were getting so many bookings from dog owners. This sincere gesture resulted in more business than advertising, hence the 'karma' aspect. We were giving sausages with love and getting hundreds of bookings and repeat bookings in the process.
It was a perfect way of extending our brand beyond our website and brochure. It was completely sincere, true to who we were and not forced to win favour and most importantly it put the needs of our customers first by showing how we loved their dogs almost as much as they did.
To make sure there is a consistent level of quality, factories maintain quality control over each section. You need to be thinking about how to enforce a similar system for your Brand by making a list of all the touch points your customers have with your Brand. Once you know where they are, you can start to put in place a system that makes sure that all your customers are getting the best possible experience of your Brand at all times.
But, why does this matter?
But why bother with all this? Surely it's a lot of effort for not much return? Why put time and money into training staff to be better when I can put it into advertising and generating sales?
It improves company culture because happier customers mean more fulfilled staff, which means happier customers. It feeds on itself and when you have a more rewarding company culture, you can attract excellence whilst retaining your own.
Not only do unhappy customers tell more people than happy ones, but it costs up to 6-7 times more to acquire a new customer and current ones are 70% more likely to purchase from you again compared to new ones.
Customer Touch Point Worksheets
To help I’ve put together a set of worksheets to help you clarify your customer touch points so you can take control of them, instead of them controlling you.
- This starts with your website. How easy is it to navigate? Can customers find what they want easily and quickly? How does it work on a mobile device?
- What about your social media? This is a huge component of any brand and I’ve written a guide call about it which you can grab here. but as a rule, it has to optimised to suit the platform it's being consumed on (video, words, audio) and the context has to sit with the psychology of the person on the platform. People want different things from LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook so make sure you consider that. The final aspect is that it has to be valuable to your audience - informative, educational or entertaining.
- Online reviews are critical to attracting more customers. Who is reviewing you? How are they doing it? Where are they doing it? How can you get more reviews by the right people in the right places?
- Which blogs feature you? What do they say? Can you get featured on more influential ones?
Stationary & Packaging
- How professional is your branding? Is there consistency from your logo to your business card to your signage?
- What about the packaging? For those of us who own an Apple product, we all know how polished the shopping experience is. From the Genius Bar to the unboxing, there is a consistency of quality in their brand experience.
At your place of business
- When customers visit you, what do they get? Is there parking? What about a receptionist? Are they greeted by someone who already knows who they are and why they are visiting your business or are the playing Candy Crush?
- Is everything clean and tidy?
- Are other customers happy or frustrated?
- When customers have had a disappointing experience they are more likely to tell more people than if they'd had a great experience. That is why you need highly empathetic people around to fix things.
- Although many perceive complaints as a disaster, it's actually a potential opportunity to turn things around and wow your customers with exceptional support and customer service. This rule applies across everything: in person, on the phone or via 24-7 email support.
- Who is dealing with the complaints? How much do they understand what they're dealing with? How long are they kept waiting? How do you fix the issue? Upgrade, free replacement? Credit? How long for a response? What is the follow-up procedure after the situation has been resolved?
- Often when people are out and about, they forget that they still represent your Brand. For example, if you get cut off in traffic by a taxi company and you'll swear to never use them again. It's important to remind staff of that and it's particularly relevant to formal events like awards ceremonies and networking meet ups.
- Who attends these events? How often are they going? Have they been briefed on how to behave?
- Do you offer etiquette training not only to maximise your impact but also on how to act properly?
So if you're ready to evaluate and improve your customer touch-points download the worksheets from the link below. As always, if you need help, please get in touch.