When a retailer continually walks in someone else’s shoes, it shows that a customer journey does not stop when someone buys. It is the beginning of a relationship.
When the customer is at the core, a continuous interaction is encouraged. Improving customer experiences can be centred on addressing real problems. From helping save time, easier ways to service and solving problems can help cement a bedrock to a long-term relationship.
Beyond The Purchase
Take for example, Farrow & Ball. A retailer that takes on board a consultancy led approach. This helps position the paint and wallpaper brand as trusted source when it comes to colour (they even set up their own blog centred on understanding colour better than anyone else, called The Chromologist).
Within their store environment, everything is centred on the conversation. From the colour walls to demonstrate variation in shades from floor paint to emulsion, to taking things further via their in-home colour consultancy. A dialogue is continuous; it doesn’t stop at the purchase.
Anything that keeps conversation momentum helps build trust and confidence. If you are proud of how your space looks, Farrow & Ball invite you to share via their inspiration gallery. What this represents is that a continual conversation is making it all about someone else (to lead to purchase). From the in-home consultancy, the in store interaction to encouraging sharing, it is all about having a sincere interest in others to help maintain a conversation and have a customer for life. Interaction has a role from initial dialogue to after care.
Cementing A Relationship
When an audience pays for the privilege of a brand, that has a high value, it cements a relationship. This is something that Virgin Holidays have recently announced (during June).
Resolution Interiors are involved in the project management for the new Departure Beach. This is a private lounge in Barbados to occupy travellers while waiting for their flight home.
Scheduled to open in May 2018, Departure Beach will have a beach bar and restaurant, showers, gaming areas and WiFi. All centred on Virgin recognising that the majority of international flights from Barbados are during the evening, so holidaymakers have the inevitable lost day with hotels checking out by midday.
What this example highlights is a brand that shows they care about the world that there customers are part of. With an example, such as Departure Beach, it represents the value of customer retention. According to a report within Harvard Business Review, a 5% increase in customer loyalty can produce profit increases from 25% to 85%.
Another premium brand that have placed the customer at the centre is Rolls- Royce. Sammi Burden, Resolution Interiors, Creative Director, has worked on the design for Rolls-Royce after sales facility in the Middle East. Sammi commented, “When customers pay a significant amount for a new car, the luxury they received in the build up was not necessarily reflected in the aftercare when it came to inspections and up keep. The experience didn’t connect.”
“The new aftercare building, that I was part of, helped create an environment where someone was continually made to feel looked after. From using the space for conferences, having a bite to eat and a space to meet and work, the whole experience finally connected.”
Not Just Reserved For The Premium End
However, it is not just premium brands that are encouraging a continuous journey.
Brands who create a deeper emotional bond with their customers are the ones who will win. It is about creating a way where every interaction encourages loyalty and deeper connection. Pets At Home have announced (during July) Sales Assist, to be introduced to 440 stores within the UK to make purchasing easier. Customers who were unable to purchase the right products had to go online or visit another store. Staff now have a faster way to access a wider range of insights and products, to convert enquiries into quicker sales. For instance, a customer can choose to pick up from another store or deliver to their workplace or home. When employees are engaged and can deliver a personal experience this creates a deeper sense of loyalty. Proof of a retailer putting someone else at the centre of his or her world.
From the Pets At Home initiative, what this highlights when it comes to a continuous relationship is that data and insight is taken directly from the customer and the retailer immediately has the ability to act on it.
Every example highlighted represents the need for brands to ensure the customer journey does not stop after someone buys.
This article has highlighted some key traits that have a role to play in maintaining a relationship. Not only is everything about the customer relationship, but the ability to listen to customers and help solve their problems (the solemn last day of holiday and what Virgin Holidays are doing to address this). This takes the conversation to a deeper level for people to open up and share (such as Farrow & Ball asking customers to showcase their own interior projects).
When a brand creates a world that a customer is very much part of, it elevates from a monetary transaction, to an end-to-end experience. When this happens, a customer is going to stick around and champion a brand they feel represents himself or herself.