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  • Writer's pictureMichael Ridgewell

The Importance of the Last 100 Feet - a Top Tip to Transform Customers into Loyal Advocates



The last 100 feet of a consumer journey is critical to form emotional connections


As marketers, we often focus on building a brand, knowing the customer, understanding your product, following the competition, or understanding the drivers of revenue. I’m going to add another essential element to this list– Living The Experience – what is it like outside the Ivory Tower of a company’s ecosystem to walk in your customers’ shoes?


When is the most critical moment in a customer journey? I’d argue it’s in the last 100 feet. This is the time when you deliver on the product or service into the hands of the eagerly awaiting end user. What do they actually experience at that moment?


Getting this step right has a powerful impact on satisfaction and perception of how they feel. If you fail to deliver at that moment of truth, it doesn’t matter how slick your marketing is, how well thought through your campaigns are, or how pretty your logo looks. This is the time when you win – or lose – the emotional bond with your customer and their likelihood to consider you or buy from you ever again.


 

Become a Secret Shopper


Want to drive repeat purchases? Minimize churn? Generate referrals and more? Start by experiencing what your customers do first-hand. Don’t just send out a cold self-serving survey – order your product for yourself!


One surefire way to see what your customer experiences for yourself is to be a secret shopper in your own organization. Testing a digital experience is relatively easy with a good QA process, but going beyond what you can see and control is where the fun starts, whether that be the experience in a service sector or in the delivery of a physical or digital purchase.


How is a customer greeted? How is a package tracked? How does that package arrive? Is it unboxing-video-worthy? How seamlessly is a return processed? How are issues or errors resolved? Is there any personalized follow-up that shows someone cares? The best way to find out is to experience what happens for yourself.


 

Customer Journeys Aren’t Just For Marketers


I always urge marketers to take a customer-centric view, but there is no reason why other teams can’t get involved in this simple exercise of ordering your own stuff. Data from such interactions can be fed back into the organization for improved processes and to address any recurring issues.


Think about how teams can help. How are customer-facing teams trained? How are products dispatched?


For a call centre, are teams empowered to make customer-centric decisions? For one loyalty program I worked on, reps were able to access information on the value of the customer to the organization to make empowered decisions. Best guests could receive White Glove Treatment because we knew who they were. Customer service reps were also given a dollar amount budget up to a certain amount to make things right, rather than looping in a supervisor. They were empowered to create the most customer-centric solution without burdening the consumer with bureaucracy.   


 

What is the Outcome Of This?


A great experience can lead to repeat purchases, increased brand affinity, and positive reviews – attracting new audiences and deepening relationships with existing consumers. Positivity is contagious and is best spread organically through your community. For the loyalty program mentioned above, sometimes the community would jump in on social media posts to answer other members’ questions or defend situations. None of that would have been possible without trust built through exemplary service and experiences.

 


Be A Secret Shopper In Your Organization


The final steps in the delivery of a product or service are crucial for cementing a positive customer experience. Find out for yourself what happens in the last 100 feet of your customer journey. Be a secret shopper – and let me know how you get on.

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