Want More Customer Loyalty?
Start With Design Thinking.
Let’s be real: we ask ourselves this question daily, both for our clients and for ourselves. Why? Because having loyal customers means waking up everyday without that pit in your stomach. It means having more reliable profit and being able to grow your business, stability and freedom. And who doesn’t want that?!
While we all wish there was a red Easy Button that magically granted us infinite customers purchasing infinitely, the truth is that button was nothing more than a piece of plastic marketing with an ROI far less than its alleged value of $9.99.
What DOES exist is a process – “design thinking” – that (drumroll please) we built our collective around to attract the most loyal, repeat customers you could ask for. And better yet, it doesn’t take an ounce of magic. Just a little empathy.
When empathy is lost, your customer is another’s to gain.
Story time! We recently found ourselves a customer faced with a choice. To remain an existing client, or leave a company altogether, for a direct competitor no less. Spoiler alert: we left. This loss was preventable for our original vendor that, given the right approach, could have secured or even deepened our customer commitment. In the end, their competition earned our business with ease. What did the Competitor do differently? Simple: they listened. Ah ha…
Rewind to two years ago, when we were searching for PinPoint’s first data storage provider. The company we initially chose kicked off the relationship by coming to our office, meeting face-to-face, showing us their product, and providing a team of engineers to get us set up and off to the races. However, what seemed like a personable and valuable partner soon revealed itself to be a time-consuming, greedy vendor. The final straw came when we reached out to expand our storage capacity. Two emails back and forth led to an invoice. We were being charged for asking if we could pay them more money.
The reason this gets under our skin is simple: as consumers, our last best experience informs our expectations moving forward. In comparison, when we recently had an issue with our Amazon Prime membership, not only was it fully taken care of with an online chat, we also received a discount for the hassle. That type of service is what we all expect at minimum now.
And as human-centered designers, we also recognize the ease with which these types of situations can be circumvented altogether, resulting in a superior customer experience that ensures customer loyalty, retention or even furthers our financial commitment.
The moral: loyalty (or disloyalty) is determined by business design.
So what did the data storage competitor get right? Well, they know many of their target customers often start their data services with their competition and later choose to switch. They know prospective customers are fed up with price gouging. They know new customers are nervous about the time and effort it will take to transfer their existing data. And so they designed their service, their pricing model and their offering with every one of these pain points in mind. They did what we as human-centered designers do:
- Specified the demographics of their ideal data customer
- Identified the purchasing habits of those customers beyond data storage
- Learned what those customers’ “last best experience” is and continue to uphold that standard
- Deeply analyzed the competitive landscape in the data storage industry
- Determined the gap that needed to be filled
And the important thing about these steps is that any business, including our original vendor, can accomplish all of this as well — they simply hadn’t yet. All it takes is a little design thinking and the determination to reevaluate how to better serve customers with ease.
It will come as no surprise that our new provider holds the second largest market share in their industry. Design thinking is what defines their product, their service, their marketing and their overall customer experience. Long story short, we love them as customers AND as design thinking nerds.
Are you gaining, maintaining or losing customer loyalty?
When a customer base begins to stagnate or shift, it’s important to start with empathy to understand what has changed before you can turn the tides in your favor. That’s the heart of design thinking — a process by which you can better define the relationship between your business, the customer and all points in between.
If you are asking how your company can gain more loyal, repeat customers or are interested in learning more about design thinking, please reach out to us at email@example.com or schedule a virtual coffee to catch up!