Building strong relationships with customers and leads is a must if you plan on thriving off of lifelong repeat customers, but as your business grows, you might be finding that your once-manageable list of loyal customers isn’t so easy to reach out to anymore.

With increased contacts added to your list, the parts of your sales cycle where you’ve always interacted with customers might be feeling inefficient and overwhelming. You know it’s important to automate whenever possible and find a balance that leaves your customers happy without overwhelming your sales team, but you’re not sure where to start. Maybe you’ve finally reached the point in your business when the human element is beginning to get in the way of scaling your processes.

Something that may also be weighing on you is the fact that your business’s growth, while exciting, has forced your sales team to use one-size-fits-all offers. It’s painful feeling the opportunities slipping through your fingers every time you present customers and leads with these unsegmented offers, but it might be the best you can do right now. Your customer experience used to be dynamic when you had the time to individually reach out to contacts on your list, and it worked well for you; no loyal customers ever received entry-level offers and vice versa. But now, the idea of scaling that kind of personalization with your growing business might seem far-fetched.

The growing pains in your sales cycle can also shed light on areas where you’re accidentally creating negative experiences for customers and leads. You may know there are problems if you’ve received complaints or had customers cancel, but your sales team simply doesn’t have the time to make adjustments. If this is you, something has to give to make room for any improvements, but you have no idea what that “something” is.

Why does it feel like building relationships with leads and customers is getting harder? Shouldn’t it be easy?

Customer Expectations Are Rising

If it feels as though it’s becoming increasingly difficult to please your customers, you’re exactly right. According to Harvard Business Review, “People now expect companies to understand what type of relationships they want and to respond appropriately — they want firms to hold up their end of the bargain. Unfortunately, many brands don’t meet those expectations.”

The Ford business model, where “you can have any color as long as it’s black,” is out, and businesses that can’t keep up fall by the wayside. It’s brutal, but it’s happening: Customers will go where they know they’ll be catered to.

Get Ahead With a Personalized Customer Journey

Although it might seem complicated or out of reach to cater to rising customer expectations, there is actually an easy way to improve the customer experience. Setting up a personalized and systemized customer journey is essential for setting your business apart from the rest. According to Mapping and Personalizing Your Customer Journey, “because each lead and customer you encounter will behave uniquely and have different interests and needs, there’s no such thing as an effective one-size-fits-all customer journey.” When you take the time upfront to set up a systemized and personalized customer journey, you not only save time down the road on responding to your customers and leads’ needs, but you also make them feel cared about throughout their experience with you.

Customers Prefer Personalization

People like to feel understood and cared about — so much so that they won’t buy from a brand that doesn’t take the extra step to personalize and tailor the customer experience to their needs. In a study by BloomReach, 87 percent of respondents said that “they’d specifically buy from the company that best predicts their intent and suggests products intuitively over all others.”

By creating a personalized and dynamic experience that accounts for each stage of the customer lifecycle, and then matching your offers to the appropriate customers, you dramatically increase your chances of locking in that coveted customer loyalty.

THE BENEFITS OF CREATING A DYNAMIC AND WELL-DEFINED CUSTOMER JOURNEY

Mapping and personalizing your customer journey will allow you to:

  • Assess your current marketing and sales processes so you can identify which parts of the customer lifecycle are already giving contacts a personalized experience
  • Match your contacts with categorized products so that loyal customers will receive different offers than entry-level contacts
  • Define the different paths each contact will take in your marketing and sales funnels so that they get the most personalized experience possible
  • Decide what to do with customers after they buy each of your products so that they’re more likely to engage with your brand as lifelong, repeat customers
  • Sprinkle human interactions into your sales process where appropriate so that you can strengthen your relationship with leads and customers
  • Replace repetitive tasks in your sales process with automation so that you can free up time for more effective and efficient human interactions

Ready to leave your one-size-fits-all customer journey behind for good? Check out the Mapping and Personalizing Your Customer Journey worksheet.



About Lindsay Kent
Lindsay is a graduate of California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, and holds a degree in Journalism with a concentration in Public Relations and minors in Spanish and Integrated Marketing Communications. After working with several small businesses, Lindsay moved to sunny Santa Barbara to become Ontraport’s Content Manager.