The Ideal Customer Journey to Increase Retention
Greetings, Retention Virtuosos!
Imagine you're setting out on a road trip with no map, no GPS, and no SiriusXM radio reception.
I did this in the summer of 2020, heading from Zion National Park to the Grand Canyon. I ended up stranded on a sunny desert dirt road when I should have been fielding customer complaints about their chicken nugget orders.
A whole lifetime ago and a long story.
0/10 would not recommend.
In a similar vein, a customer journey without clear touchpoints can lead to confusion, dissatisfaction, and, ultimately, customer churn.
This week, I’m here to give you the roadmap to navigate the customer journey and optimize those critical touchpoints to increase your retention.
The Journey Mapping Detour: Understanding Key Touchpoints
Smoothing the Bumps: Optimizing Customer Touchpoints
The Long Haul: How Effective Touchpoints Elevate Retention Rates
We’ve got loads to talk about.
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The Journey Mapping Detour: Understanding Key Touchpoints
Navigating the customer journey isn't a one-size-fits-all solution. Instead, it's a meticulously tailored path designed to enrich each customer's experience with your brand.
And within this journey, the 'touchpoints' are pivotal.
Let's dissect this using two DTC brands that, IMHO, have excelled in managing their customer touchpoints—Brooklinen and Casper.
Brooklinen, a DTC luxury bedding brand, has created a name for itself through its commitment to quality, transparency, and customer satisfaction.
Their journey begins the moment a prospective customer stumbles upon a Brooklinen ad or social media post. The brand ensures that its content is engaging, vibrant, and resonates with its ethos of comfort and (affordable) luxury.
Brooklinen Meta Ad
The customer is then led to the Brooklinen website - another touchpoint - which is designed to be easy to navigate and full of detailed product descriptions and customer reviews.
Once the customer chooses to buy a product, there are further touchpoints - the checkout process, order confirmation, and product delivery.
Brooklinen keeps the customer informed at each step, creating a sense of trust and positive association with the brand. It feels like one long continuous story.
Even post-purchase, the brand maintains contact, asking for feedback and offering assistance if needed.
As another example, let's look at Casper - a DTC mattress brand that has reinvented the way people buy mattresses.
Their customer journey begins with innovative, eye-catching advertising and extends to their informative and easy-to-navigate website.
Like Brooklinen, Casper maintains regular communication with their customers throughout the purchase process and even beyond, ensuring they feel valued and cared for.
After all, they are just selling mattresses in a box, so their competitive advantage is the way they make folks feel.
Through this process, both Brooklinen and Casper have not only succeeded in creating an enjoyable customer journey but have also managed to convert many first-time customers into loyal, repeat customers.
How can you achieve this cohesiveness for your brand?
In the following sections, we'll dive into the strategies for optimizing your unique customer touchpoints and enhancing your customers' journey.
The Art of Synchronization: Creating a Cohesive Brand Experience
In our increasingly connected world, businesses can't afford to view their customer touchpoints in isolation. Instead, they need to orchestrate a cohesive brand experience across all touchpoints.
For DTC businesses, this harmonization is especially crucial as it defines the customer’s entire perception of the brand.
To illustrate, let's take a quick peek at how DTC brands Rothy's and Buffy have mastered this aspect of customer retention.
Rothy's, a sustainable footwear brand, has built a strong reputation by leveraging the power of a synchronized brand experience.
From their eco-friendly product design to their commitment to sustainable practices throughout, Rothy's has woven a cohesive narrative throughout all customer interactions.
Whether it’s through their website, social media platforms, emails, or packaging, every touchpoint echoes the brand's ethos.
By doing so, Rothy's presents a unified brand image, allowing customers to understand and connect with their mission easily.
Everything you touch related to Rothy’s makes you feel the brand deep in your bones.
Likewise, Buffy, a DTC comforter brand, has capitalized on synchronization by emphasizing their commitment to sustainability and comfort across all customer touchpoints.
Through consistent branding, tone, and messaging, Buffy ensures customers immediately recognize and resonate with the brand, irrespective of the touchpoint.
The result is a seamless customer journey that reinforces their brand promise at every step, fostering trust and brand loyalty.
So, what's the secret to creating such a cohesive brand experience?
Understanding your brand values and ensuring they are effectively communicated at every customer touchpoint.
Each element should embody your brand's core principles, from your website design and content to your customer service interactions.
By achieving this synchronization, you offer customers a seamless, immersive brand experience that keeps them coming back for more.
The only thing that some brands are missing is this:
Instead of understanding the impact their brand is making on their customer (or the lack thereof), they treat “brand” like a one-way billboard message.
Here’s how to make sure you are not doing that. 😏
The Feedback Loop: Harnessing Customer Insights for Continuous Improvement
The final but crucial stage in managing customer touchpoints is the feedback loop.
DTC brands have an inherent advantage in that they have direct communication channels with their customers, which they can use to gather feedback and insights.
As an example, here are some ways that Everlane, a clothing brand focused on transparency, leverages customer feedback to improve its offerings:
Product Improvement: Everlane directly uses customer feedback to enhance its products. One example of this is when Everlane improved the design and fabric of a pair of trousers based on customer feedback.
The company added belt loops and menswear-style details such as interior closures and interfacing, and also changed the fabric to a softer tropical wool after customers found the previous fabric thin and itchy (source).
Product Development: Everlane actively involves customers in the process of product development.
For instance, when they were designing their first pants, Everlane invited some customers to try on prototypes and provide feedback.
Their opinions and feedback were taken into account for the final release, which created a sense of exclusivity and involvement for the customers and ended up generating a waiting list of 12,000 people (source).
Transparency & Trust Building: Everlane has built a brand identity around trust and transparency, which they call "radical transparency".
They openly state how much every item cost them to make, where it was made, and how much it was marked up, fostering a deeper emotional connection with customers.
They also have "Choose What You Pay" sales where customers can decide how much over the cost of goods they pay for overstock products, with Everlane showing customers what the extra profits are going towards (source).
Social Media Engagement: Everlane uses social media, especially Instagram, to gather feedback and engage with their customers.
At one point in time, they had a private account called Everlane Studio, which offered exclusive content and early access to new releases and used the platform to gauge consumer responses and test out new products.
By allowing its user-base the opportunity to voice their opinions and even impact decisions, Everlane creates a community and strengthens customer loyalty (source).
By actively collecting and implementing feedback, Everlane closes the loop with customers and involves them in the brand's growth, showing customers that their opinion matters.
This not only helps Everlane uncover areas of improvement but also fosters a sense of loyalty among their customers, as they feel valued and heard.
Taking in customer feedback is not simply about listening to complaints and smoothing ruffled feathers. It's about turning that data into action.
Here are some practical steps anyone can take to do just that:
Active Listening: Whether it’s on social media, surveys, or even over the phone, create platforms for customers to voice their concerns, ideas, and overall experience with your brand. Encourage dialogue and let them know their voice matters. The aim here is to build trust, empathy, and understanding.
Centralizing Feedback: To make feedback truly valuable, it needs to be organized and legible. Use tools or platforms that allow you to compile feedback from different sources into a single, manageable space. This will help you spot patterns and recurring issues more easily.
Data Analysis: Feedback in its raw form can be overwhelming and difficult to decipher. This is where data analysis comes into play. Look for trends, commonalities, and outliers in the feedback data. This will help you pinpoint areas that need attention.
Taking Action: This is arguably the most critical step. Once you have analyzed the data and understood the problem areas, it's time to make changes. This could mean improving a product feature, modifying a policy, or training your customer service team on a specific issue.
Communication: After implementing changes, communicate with your customers. Let them know that their feedback was heard and acted upon. This helps build a strong relationship and fosters a sense of loyalty.
Remember, the feedback loop is not a one-and-done process. It's a continuous cycle that requires commitment and follow-through.
Only by consistently listening, analyzing, and acting can you hope to drive customer retention and build a brand that truly understands and values its customers.
P.S. Here is one more hyper-relevant example of “social listening” that is going to get some folks at Airbnb a large promotion and nice bonus:
We love a good social listening story and this example with Alix Earle and @Airbnb is one for the books. Lets dig in…
— Lia Haberman (@liahaberman)
May 24, 2023
That’s it for this week!
Before we go, have you all listened to the most recent Down To Chat Episode with Ben Lerer of Lerer Hippeau?
We chatted about the future of VC in DTC, and it was one of my fav episodes we’ve ever recorded. Check it out here:
Lastly, if you are interested in getting in front of 8,500+ marketers and executives, I’m opening up some July sponsorship slots.
Just shoot me a DM or reply to this email!