Most people are familiar with the phrase “Going on a Target Run!” Whether pre-pandemic and through the COVID shopping restrictions, the one constant for my family has been the ‘Target Run’. This repetitive journey to the same retail outlet is a great example of how a business has successfully gotten my family into a LOYALTY loop. This LOYALTY LOOP eliminates several steps of the typical customer journey because they (TARGET) have satisfied several needs that as a customer, I find critical to my decision-making process.
Wouldn’t it be great if your customers were stuck in a LOYALTY LOOP and automatically considered your business above all others and relied on your organization to meet their needs exclusively. Sounds like a pipedream but if more organizations mapped and dove further into their customer’s journey, they could make the experience they provide more compelling and more effective.
The customer’s journey includes Awareness, Consideration, Purchase, Retention and Advocacy.
TARGET is among several organizations that painstakingly maps their customer’s journey inside and outside their brick-and-mortar stores. Other companies that are customer centric include Disney, Starbucks, and Amazon. How and why do these giants map their customer’s journey so closely? Because they have realized that moving a customer from satisfied to raving fan, is easier than trying to find new customers or move a dissatisfied customer to a loyal customer status.
At the start of any customer journey is AWARENESS. This is when a customer is discovering, researching, and seeking options and solutions for their problem. As a business your focus needs to be on how you solve the customer’s problem better, faster, and more efficiently than any other business in your community. Aligning your unique selling proposition or USP to customer needs is imperative at this stage.
Once you have made sure that your ideal customer has found you and you are providing relevant and engaging content for them to follow, your business will enter the CONSIDERATION part of the customer’s journey. Now the customers will begin at look for more specific and in-depth answers to their questions. Price points, product offerings and deliver options will be examined and investigated. At this stage the funnel narrows, and customer begins to solidify their decision to purchase or act, or to go back a step and find others in the space to fill their needs.
A lot can happen to turn customer’s away in the CONSIDERATION set. Here is where your TOUCHPOINTS must be relevant, educational, and full of potential value. Touchpoints entice, education and inform customers they don’t just sell. Actually, in today’s marketplace the less “salesy” you are the better. Put the customer in control. Give them the power by focusing on their pain points.
Touchpoints include social media, your website, your sales team, online rating or reviews, and advertising messages to name a few. Any where or any space the customer comes in contact with your business is a touchpoint you must strengthen and continually focus on.
Once you have squeezed through the CONSIDERATION part of the funnel, the PURCHASE OR ACTION STEP is next. Now you have converted the customer to make an actual sale. But the journey of the consumer doesn’t stop there. How they feel after the purchase is critical to getting them into a LOYALTY LOOP. IF they are delighted and you exceed their expectations you are clearly on your way to having a loyal and repeat customer. Asking for feedback and rewarding the customer in expected ways allows your business to remain in the LOYALTY LOOP.
Repeat customers must be nurtured and prized. They need to become the core of your business and how you engage with them. Continue to provide value and offer unexpected benefits after the sale will keep them coming back for more. Increasing a repeat customer’s average transaction is easier when every time they interact with your business, they get something more than what they expected. It’s work and it’s hard, but ensuring you establish a robust feedback loop at every point of contact and continue to improve and adjust based on what you see and hear.
So, I go back to the ‘Target Run’. The organization has made important improvements to their touchpoints and added customer focus elements to their business at every step. From RED CARDS, to CIRCLE to Drive up Pickup and Same Day Delivery options, Target has made the typical RUN easier, faster, and better than others in the marketplace. They send personalized emails with offer codes and discounts that makes their customers feel important. Even if their prices aren’t the lowest, they have created a set of touchpoints and ensure the needs of their customers are met completely. Self-Check Out, expanded grocery sections, and the introduction of exclusive brands has made a ‘Target Run’ a mainstay.
Creating a customer centric organization is much more important today, simply because consumers have access to more information and more choices than ever before. You need to narrow their search and become the go-to option.
- Simplicity – how easy is it to do business with your organization
- Reliability – how certain are you that you are ready to meet your customer’s needs at any time
- Available – how accessible is your business to help customers along their journey
- Adaptation – how often are you adjusting and adding features to better align with your customer’s needs
- Anticipation – how well can you predict customer trends and behavior using data and feedback
- Accountability – Is everyone in your organization responsibility and focused on the customer experience
Don’t forget that once a customer has entered the LOYALTY LOOP and you have successfully retained them for some time, if you continue to surprise and delight them, the customer will become an ADVOCATE for your business. The customers will spread the word about your business unaided and unsolicited. These raving fans can fuel your long-term business growth.