3 easy steps to owning the customer experience.

Reading time: 5 minutes

Other people can harm your customer experience and harm your sales, so it’s important that you do whatever you can to prevent anything going wrong.

I recently met with someone that I’d been introduced to by the PR person I use, to discuss how his CSR business and mine could work together and potentially bring opportunities to each other.

Although most of the meeting focused on the importance of CSR within marketing and brand, and vice versa, he told me a side story about his experience with a major car brand, which ended up with that brand losing out on a £40,000 sale on the spot, plus repeat business.

He had gone into a Volvo dealership, with his £40,000 allowance under his belt, ready to choose a vehicle that day.

Unfortunately for Volvo, the dealership sales person really couldn’t be bothered that day. The customer was given no attention, not even a welcome. They gave the customer a look of “I don’t think you’re worth bothering about”.

The customer left the showroom, understandably annoyed and put off, and took himself off to the nearest BMW dealership, where he received a superb experience and promptly ordered a £40,000 car.

He has since purchased two more cars from BMW and says he would never consider Volvo again.


Where did it all go wrong for Volvo?

It’s always going to be that bit harder to make sure your company brand, ethos and standards are maintained to the highest levels by sales partners, such as car dealerships, and admittedly, maybe the Volvo sales person was just having a bad day, but with a bit of attention to the detail, a well-defined and executed Customer Journey can mitigate these potential stumbling blocks, to ensure the experience is always maintained to a high level.


Own the sale from start to finish

I truly believe that you need to make sure that you have ownership, responsibility and control over the sales process from start to finish, even when you’re not able to always be in every conversation that takes place in the buying process.

This applies to situations where an internal sponsor within a customer needs to manage some of the sales and investment justification conversations, or within reseller and dealer channel / distribution sales models. In B2C it’s about easy access to compelling content on social media, review sites and in-store experiences.


How to deliver

3 key activities can really improve the outcome of the sale when you can’t physically be involved:

  1. Customer Journey – a well-defined Customer Journey lays out an effective and efficient process with key actions to be taken at each stage, throughout the buying process and beyond into ownership and upgrade. It makes sure nothing gets missed.When you have a defined Customer Journey process, it is much easier to repeat it in multiple scenarios and to pass it onto stakeholders in the buying process, for them to follow.You should also look to implement a CRM system and marketing automation to automate certain steps and maintain a clear view of what’s happening in the sales process, so you can easily assist if needed to keep it on track.
  2. Make it easy – buyers and sellers react most positively when the process they’re going through is easy to understand. It helps them trust the seller, makes them feel confident about the choices they make and speeds up the process, because the give / get question is easily and clearly articulated and understood.To make it easy, use your Customer Journey to work out what information needs to be provided to both the seller and the buyer to help them decide in your favour. Look at how you can build trust and confidence in the buyer, while nurturing them through the buying process as quickly as possible.Make sure the information is easy to understand. Infographics, video and tables/charts make complex information easy to understand.
  3. Make friends – the stakeholders in your sales process can make or break the sale, so you need to make sure that you equip them with the right tools and information, but also ensure they want to do well for your brand.Whether it’s a sales person at a car dealership or a senior manager in a customer, make sure you understand what their personal goals are and give them the tools to be able to achieve those goals….easily.


Now go get ‘em (and good luck).

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Robin Lane, Clevedon, BS21 7ET, UK