Most companies and experts look at the relationship businesses have with their customers in three steps with seven stages. Known as the Customer Relationship Lifecycle. (CRL) the three steps and seven stages are:
4. Selection or trial
Too bad so many companies take this approach because it has a fundamental flaw. What's wrong with it? Advocacy should be in the pre-purchase step. Most companies think that only buyers can be advocates, but the fact is that some of your best advocates may not have made a purchase yet - and maybe they never will.
Smart retailers focus on building advocacy during the pre-purchase step for three reasons:
- To potentially turn non-buyers into advocates.
- To lead more buyers into becoming advocates.
- To use the advocacy elements to influence the consideration stage and improve the purchase potential.
To focus on creating advocates in the pre-purchase stages, consider the following:
1. Teach your employees that some non-buyers actually create a lot more revenue than the average customer spends. As a matter of fact, some studies have shown that in some businesses the highest spending customers are not the most effective advocates. This is why we like to teach all retail employees to never label a customer as "just a looker."
2. Make it a company goal to deliver an amazing and delightful experience to every single customer. I love the retailer who told me that her goal is to have every customer who leaves her store feels better than when they came in.
How the experience is delivered varies from retailer to retailer but what doesn't vary is that retailers who deliver a superior experience have identified the steps to delivering the experience. It's usually a combination of activities including a warm welcome, a drink or some other gesture, and may include a surprise that delights the customer. The easiest way to get customers to advocate your store is to give them something to tell others about. What happens in your store that your customer will most likely tell a friend or family member about?
3. Capture contact information for all visitors. Retailers who only capture the contact information at the point of sale are losing revenue opportunities and potential advocacy by non-buyers. Give the customer a reason to give you the contact information in the pre-purchase phase and you'll increase the number of post-purchase people.
So let me ask, is building advocacy in your pre or post-purchase stage?