Inbound Marketing: Delight!
This article is preceded by an introduction post, inbound marketing part one: attracting visitors, part two: convert, and part three: close.
With inbound marketing, your work is never finished!
You probably thought that once a sale was closed, the process came to an end. But you were wrong! Although you’ve now converted some of your visitors, and closed a product or service sale, you still have to remain present. It’s important to delight your customers.
Learn to delight
In the previous stages, you got to know your client and learned to seduce them effectively. Now that they’re with you, you have to learn to delight them. Even if you’ve helped them outline their goals, the road toward reaching them and delighting your client in the process is specific to every case.
Some clients like to be contacted frequently, while others prefer minimal follow-ups. Some will expect you to quickly produce smaller results, while others prefer to achieve bigger gains on a longer time period. For every client, establish a profile which includes their preferences for execution and delivery, as well as their preferred communication style. This will ensure you provide them with a more adequate and personalized service.
You already started establishing a personal relationship with your client in the previous stages of inbound marketing. Continue in this direction. Delivering on your promises will not only help you establish trust, but also achieve a feeling that you’ve done your duty. To me, this inbound marketing stage is also what makes all the previous work you’ve done worth it.
This learning process can also involve different tools: surveys to evaluate client satisfaction, project management tools that help identify potential timeline delays, or a CRM system for noting client comments on product or service deliveries. The important thing is to have a system that allows you to really learn what would delight your client, so that you may then apply it.
Go the extra mile
Once you’ve learned how to delight your client and you’ve established a trusting relationship with them, your work isn’t done! As mentioned at the start of this article: when using an inbound marketing approach, your work is never finished. Keep the partnership with your client on a level where they’ll immediately think of you to help them fix issues if they arise. You need to always be top of mind.
Create opportunities not only to satisfy and delight them, but also surprise them. The under-promise and over-deliver methodology can help you achieve this. Commit to what you can do easily, but strive to deliver more! This strategy is not new: it’s been around for a long time. However, businesses that apply the concept often yield convincing results.
Going the extra mile to delight your customers can also be done on an interaction level. Initiating a conversation with them on social networks or in discussion groups can help show you’re interested in all their issues, even the ones that don’t involve you.
Give your client the possibility to act easily through communications via multiple channels. Offering them services or products related to the ones you already provide them will make you both happy. Because you’ve made the effort to get to know your client, you likely read blogs or media publications that are related to their general activities. Why not share and exchange with them about what you’ve read? Talk about current affairs that may affect them, especially if you can offer tangible solutions to potential problems.
In short, you’ve satisfied your client’s appetite… but everyone has room for dessert!
A delightful user experience
The different things you do to delight your clients are part of the user experience. If you’ve learned to satisfy your client in a personalized way, and you’ve even exceeded their expectations, you’re providing them with an exceptional user experience. Here is a concrete example: I purchased a new Microsoft device a while ago. It wasn’t working properly. I contacted Microsoft through their online chat and within 10 minutes, they had taken down my delivery information. The next morning, I received a replacement product. I would have been satisfied if they had offered to exchange the product in store. But they went beyond my expectations by replacing the piece and delivering it to my doorstep. They learned how to satisfy someone with a problem, and went beyond my expectations.
What’s important to know about user experience is that no matter whether or not you take steps to influence it, it is still present. Your clients have expectations. By establishing a certain proximity and being conscious of their needs, you’ll be able to act in a way that provides them with a positive experience.
This will lead the client to respond and evaluate your actions. No matter whether you control the process or not, it is present. The effort you put into managing it will also allow you to control your clients’ satisfaction and the consequences that stem from it. To go back to my previous example involving my Microsoft device, if I hadn’t been able to reach anyone, I would have been dissatisfied, and there would have probably been negative consequences. They also sent me a survey to evaluate the customer service they provided, and even called me to confirm the process. That’s taking satisfaction and surpassing it!
The benefits of satisfying your customers
Obviously, a satisfied customer will come back. They will create business opportunities for you without requiring all the effort of a new acquisition. The trusting relationship is already there: all you have to do is continue maintaining it. However, your customers aren’t simply people with whom you maintain a recurring business relationship: they’re also ambassadors for your brand. They are resources and important partners who can bear witness to your successful collaborations. They will be more than proud to be able to talk about you and your successful partnerships with qualified clients who are of interest to you.
Inbound marketing involves people coming to you. By having successful projects and effective partner relationships with your clients, you open the door to attracting new ones with a similar profile. These are clients to whom you can offer the same types of services, and whom you can delight in turn.
Your new ambassadors will probably not only share their positive experiences with their close network, but the public, too, via different channels. Whether it’s on social networks or during an interview with traditional media outlets, it will be a pleasure for them to discuss your service offering, since they know you provide excellent service. You’ll gain the kind of visibility that only grows if you apply everything effectively.
Let’s go back to my Microsoft example one last time. Not only did I write a tweet praising their customer service, but I even chose to use the example in my article. I also spoke to a friend who asked me more questions after reading my tweet; they’ll soon be purchasing a Microsoft device. This is proof that your corporate creativity is the only limit to delighting your customers in a tangible way!
I’d like to repeat an important point: even if you don’t control your user experience, it is still there. Ambassadors won’t necessarily have a positive experience if they’re left to their own devices, and this can really have negative consequences. Take control before it controls you!