Water Conditioning & Purification Magazine

For 2020, the Buzzword is CX – Customer Experience

By Dale ‘DataDale’ Filhaber

People are now used to instant access, seamless customer service and a speedy turnaround on their needs. Consumers are Amazon Prime’d. They want what they want and they want it now; ergo, the customer experience needs to be stellar. Every company needs to rethink how they are doing business, because today it is tough and competitive. Dealers work hard to get their customers and work just as had to keep them.

And while we would like to believe that providing a stellar customer experience will generate all the customers needed to run a profitable business, it just isn’t so. While that experience will help retain customers, there will always be customer attrition as people move away or their needs change. The fact is, companies always need a steady stream of leads coming into their business. New customers are the lifeblood of every water quality dealership.

Word of mouth will never be enough. Business owners need to constantly fine tune their company’s marketing strategy. They need to develop an intelligent marketing budget that defines their goals and objectives and lists the tactics to get there.

How lead generation fits in to the customer experience
The first rule is to market only to those people who are most likely to buy your product. When you target your efforts on the best possible prospects, you are spending your money more wisely, not wasting it on undesirables. You can focus your messaging on the specific target you want to engage. When you match specific messaging to a specific target, it becomes more relevant. You increase the probability of response ten-fold.

In the water quality industry, homeowners1 are the key. Water treatment companies selling whole-house POE systems should be marketing only the single-family homeowners with scores that can qualify to buy the system. If your finance company wants credit scores2 of 680+ up, well those are the only ones you market to.

In today’s omnichannel3 world, the customer experience needs to over-arch the different marketing channels. The customer needs to get a consistent message, regardless of the marketing channel. It needs to be seamless. It doesn’t matter whether the customer opened a piece of mail or visited their Facebook page. They need to see a similar visual image And the messaging must be unified. The offer needs to be uniform. Consistency breeds trust. When someone feels that a water treatment dealership is dependable or trustworthy, they are more likely to engage with them.

The purchase journey starts with that first marketing campaign. A relevant, well-targeted marketing campaign builds trust in both a company and a product. Building that trust is the first step toward creating a great customer experience. Always remember the messaging. According to the 2019 WQA Consumer Opinion Study, consumers buy water filtration systems to eliminate contaminants for better quality taste and appearance. Make sure you have a strong guarantee. Keep in mind that cost is an important factor in the decision-making.

Calendar your marketing schedule. A continuous flow of marketing out brings a steady stream of leads back in. There are many terrific marketing campaigns in the water quality industry that generate lots of leads. I have seen some excellent direct mailers with outstanding companion digital components. When consumers see your message in more than one marketing channel, it increases your importance.

CX during the in-home presentation
The in-home presentation is truly a make-or-break piece in the customer experience. This is where you win or you lose. Be sure the appointment is properly confirmed. Consider using an app that provides the homeowner with accurate arrival time. Include a photo of the sales rep along with a good contact phone. Again, think about the customer experience. When a consumer knows exactly who’s coming, they are more comfortable and more relaxed for the presentation. Needless to say, the in-home sales person represents the company. Clean, well-pressed uniform, branded name badge, identifiable vehicle…all are necessary to engage the prospective customer positively.

Reps should be prepared with facts and figures about the local water. The WQA offers lots of training and tips to improve sales techniques. By the way, make sure your people are WQA-certified,4 as professional certifications give your team credibility. These certifications also provide your dealership with a competitive advantage, which also inspires trust. Telling customers what they want to hear may seem like the safest, easiest way to close a sale. In the long run, though, customers are quick to see the real value they’re getting for their investment. Being vague or embellishing can often do more damage than good.

When considering customer experience, you need to put the customer at the center of your strategy. Honesty is always the best approach. Promise what you can deliver and deliver what you promise. That is a much more effective way to inspire your customers’ trust and loyalty. Remember, the transaction doesn’t end after the customer signs on the dotted line. That’s simply the beginning of the relationship.

The customer experience and retention
It’s always cheaper to keep a client than to find a new one. You worked hard to earn that client’s trust. Once you’ve got it, you need to nurture it by delivering value on all future interactions. Customers expect and demand a consistently high level of support.

What’s your company’s plan for customer identity management? For example, when clients call with a question or problem, you need to be able to quickly identify them and track their past contacts. You should have a database that shows which products they currently have. There should be an easy way for your customer service team to quickly assess concerns and resolve problems. Remember what I said earlier: promise what you can deliver and deliver what you promise. Better yet, over-deliver and wow your customer. By creating an experience that exceeds customer expectations, customers are inspired to continue doing business with you.

In business, the real profit comes from lifetime value. According to the White House Office of Consumer Affairs, studies have found that happy customers will tell four to six people about a positive brand experience. Those kinds of reviews, whether on line or word of mouth, are priceless. On the other hand, poor or inconsistent customer service and support can cost you even your most loyal customers. According to Forbes Magazine, almost a third of customers say they will stop doing business with a brand they love5 after as little as one bad customer experience. Yes, customers can be fickle. After all, there are lots of other companies vying for their attention.

CX improves return on investment (ROI)
There’s real ROI in enhanced customer experience. In addition to improving customer satisfaction, loyal customers buy more, as well as more often. According to a study by Echo Research,6 70 percent of customers were willing to spend more money with a company that provides good customer service. Put yourself in your customers’ shoes; think how you would like to be treated. Can you say the same thing about the way your dealership handles customer service? Bottom line: give your consumers a customer experience that makes you proud.

References

  1. Lists for Direct Mail, Telemarketing. https://www.datamangroup.com/water-conditioning/
  2. Homeowners With Modeled Credit Score are Great Water Treatment Prospects. https://www.datamangroup.com/water-conditioning/homeowners-with-modeled-credit/
  3. Does Your Water Quality Dealership Have an Omni-Channel Marketing Strategy in Place? https://www.datamangroup.com/does-your-water-quality-dealership-have-an-omni-channel-marketing-strategy-in-place-for-2019/
  4. Certification for Water Treatment Industry Professionals. Water Quality Association. https://www.wqa.org/profcert
  5. Your Best Opportunity For Growing Business: The Customer Experience. Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/shephyken/2018/04/01/your-best-opportunity-for-growing-business-the-customer-experience/#17d392d13a3e
  6. 5 Ways your B2B Customer Experience Strategy will Impact Business Outcomes in 2018. https://www.martechadvisor.com/articles/customer-experience-2/5-ways-your-b2b-customer-experience-strategy-in-2018-will-impact-business-outcomes/

About the author
Dale ‘DataDale’ Filhaber is President of Dataman Group Direct, a Florida-based direct marketing company founded in 1981. She is an author, lecturer, listologist and direct-marketing innovator. In the past 30+ years, Filhaber has trained many water quality dealers in direct marketing and lead generation techniques, ranging from direct mail to telemarketing to social media. Her latest book, Lead Generation for Water Quality Dealers, has received rave reviews and can be purchased at Amazon.com. Filhaber is also the author of Pure Water Profits, a blog on marketing focusing on the water treatment industry. She is also a frequent guest lecturer at the annual WQA conference. Filhaber can be reached by phone, (800) 771-3282 or email, dale@datamangroup.com or visit www.datamangroup.com. Dataman Group Direct is proud to showcase WaterProspects.com, (https://www.datamangroup.com/water-conditioning/), a dedicated website focusing on lead generation and direct marketing for the water quality industry.

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