Thursday, February 28, 2013

Customer Experience Lifecycle

The following is an interesting adaptation of the classic Customer Life-cycle analysis

The first spark is Need. It's not part of the traditional customer experience life-cycle  but Need (i.e., a solution to a problem) often begets the rest of the cycle.
This is the rest of the stages of the life-cycle are defined, from the customer's perspective: 

Awareness: This is when customers first become aware of your brand, which might happen as a result of your marketing or advertising efforts or word of mouth/referrals from a friend. 
Consideration: Now that they are aware of your brand, it becomes one of the brands in their consideration set. This means that they'll research and investigate your products and services, along with those of your competition.
Selection/Purchase: Once customers have done their homework, they are ready to select and purchase your products or services. 
Experience: During this stage, customers learn how to use and consume your products or services, training, support, etc. Ultimately, if they are satisfied with the experience because you've met their basic needs and expectations, it leads to the next stage. 
Loyalty: During this part of the the lifecycle, customers feel comfortable with the brand experience, and, as a result, continue to use your products and services and will even broaden their purchases to other products or services that they haven't used in the past. 
Advocacy: If your customers reach this point, you're starting to get into exciting territory. This is when customers become an extension of your sales force and recommend your products and services to their friends and colleagues. They've had nothing but exceptional experiences to this point.

Engagement: While you've reached a pretty solid stage in the relationship when your customers hit Advocacy, Engagement brings in that emotional bond. Now we're talking Love and Trust. They can't live without your products or services.
Raving Fans: And finally, I believe that the ultimate customer experience yields Raving Fans. These customers have gone beyond Engagement, beyond that emotional bond. Is that possible?  Yes! Consider those brands where customers feel they are part of something bigger, where they show an outward expression of their devotion to the brand: they tattoo their bodies with the brand logo or even name their children after the brand!! You know the examples: Apple, Zappos, and Harley Davidson are just a few! 
The last part of the customer experience life-cycle: Departure. Obviously, this is the one stage of the life-cycle that companies hope customers never achieve, but, as you know, it happens. Departure can take many forms: churn, cancel, die. You can't control the latter, but the former two are in your hands. How will you ensure that your customers never reach that stage?

Friday, February 15, 2013

Is Your Growth Strategy Flying Blind?
by Mehrdad Baghai, Sven Smit, and Patrick Viguerie

Very interesting article that I strongly urge you to read.

Despite an abundance of raw data, few organizations have figured out how to parse and analyze all that information to reveal the best opportunities for growth. Even fewer have attempted to structure and manage themselves to match the texture of the markets in which they play. But a fine-grained understanding of company performance and markets is critical which calls for a nuanced approach to cutting costs and making long-term investments. 
Baghai, Smit, and Viguerie urge firms to target narrower market slices and to measure sources of growth—market momentum, mergers and acquisitions, and market share gains—in a more detailed way. When they reviewed growth patterns of global firms from 1999 to 2006, they found that companies can get a much more accurate picture of growth prospects by digging deeply into micromarkets (typically ranging from $50 million to $200 million in value) than by looking at the division-level performance numbers commonly used for measuring, organizing, and managing. 
The authors examine several companies—including Amazon and Ping An—that have benefitted from greater granularity. For instance, one large European manufacturer of personal-care products went beyond an aggregated view of performance and discovered that some of its higher-growth segments were lurking in the unit with the lowest overall growth rate. Another company, an integrated telecommunications service provider, retooled its marketing mix—making fewer roughly calculated media trade-offs (television versus direct mail versus radio) and instead selecting the right media within narrowly defined regions for specific lines of business. As a result, it boosted sales between 10% and 15% in several regions and increased average lifetime customer value by 15%.

Monday, February 04, 2013

Sam Adams' Secret Weapon

I just couldn't resist publishing this trinket. In the consumer business, packaging is always an important consideration. This is a unique example of how “packaging” can increase consumption and why it is very important to study how your customers use/consume your product.

Most of us probably don’t think much about the shape of the glass we use to drink a beverage. If we’re having a beer in a bar or restaurant, it will likely come in a tapered pint glass, a flute-shaped glass, a mug, or sometimes a glass branded with the name of the chosen brew. We SHOULD pay more attention, because new research shows our rate of consumption is dramatically affected by the glass that beer is served in.
A team of generous researchers from the University of Bristol decided to serve up some free brews, while (unbeknownst to the lucky subjects) carefully monitoring how long it took the average drinker to finish their beer. There were two glass designs used: a fluted glass which is wide at the top and has a curved taper to a narrow bottom, and a straight glass with vertical sides. What they found was startling.
Each subject was poured a 12 ounce beer, equivalent to a standard U.S. bottle or can, which gave them a full glass. It took subjects drinking from straight glasses nearly 12 minutes to finish their beer, while those drinking from fluted glasses took just over 7 minutes. 

Curved Glass Obscures “Halfway” Mark resulting in 60% faster consumption!!
In an effort to determine why the beer drinkers polished off the fluted glass so quickly, the researchers ran a few additional experiments. They tried half-full glasses (or half-empty if you’re pessimistic), and didn't find much difference in rate of consumption. Another test showed that it was more difficult for the subjects to estimate where the halfway mark was in the curved glass. From this data, the researchers concluded that the subjects were setting a rate of consumption based on their progress through the glass, and drank the beer from the fluted glass more rapidly because they mis-estimated that progress.
This research explains why so many locations that serve beer don’t use straight glasses. I always assumed the reason was aesthetics, but, by design or luck, most establishments gravitate toward curved or tapered beer glasses.