No Time To Hang Up Your Cape, Superhero—The Work's Just Started

Jennifer Schulze

The customer’s journey and the brand hero

Your prospect is now a customer, but you are hardly out of danger. Now’s the time when the work really starts, and if you do it right you’ll reap rewards for years to come. Your customers will become brand advocates and return to buyer behavior, thus bringing down your customer acquisition costs. This is a huge benefit—80% of future business generally comes from 20% of your customers. This is because they believe in the superhero you are—you’ve proven you can save their day time and time again and you don’t need to convince them. You just need to keep delivering flawlessly.

This stage of the journey requires patience and discipline, but it becomes much simpler as all the pieces fall into place. To help, many CRM and marketing automation systems include software designed specifically to address stages within the buyer/customer journeys.

Engage

Your buyer is now a customer, but the work has just started. At this stage you need to make sure they feel highly valued and welcomed into your community of believers. The transition from buyer to customer represents a critical juncture in your relationship: to be sold to is not the same as being engaged. The OBE (out-of-box experience) is an emotional time when customer hopes and fears are heightened. Remorse hangs like a shadow in the background, and someone’s job may be on the line based on how well you solve the customer’s primary problem. Treat the OBE like a performance: Script out the OBE based on experiences with existing customers to predict common challenges and minimize desperate calls to customer service.

In the Hero’s Journey, this is the Transformation. The hero must accept the new gifts or toss them aside and go back to the world as it was before. Provide guides that help the customer be the hero and teach coworkers what your solutions can help them achieve. Assist with implementation schedules. The new customer needs white papers on best practices as well as tips on how to become an expert with the new tools.

Optimize

Your customer has invested in the process and engaged with your company, but dangers remain. Competitors will covet your best customers because they have shown a willingness to change vendors and the willpower to see a purchase through to conclusion. Your goal is to optimize your solutions to ensure a perfect fit with each customer. Make each opportunity personal and flawless.

Help your customers advance through this phase by using content that shows how to execute processes correctly and helps them see the full value of your brand. Launch drip email campaigns and webinars that showcase the most innovative and valuable features of your product. Have dialogs with your best customers about their long-term objectives. When it’s time to renew they should be eager to sign up, not dissatisfied.

Expand

T.S. Eliot said it best: “The end of all our exploring will be to arrive at where we started and know the place for the first time.” Your customer should have success stories to share about what you both have achieved through collaboration. Encourage your customer to expand the relationship and retell their story to friends and other social contacts. The buying journey begins again.

The Hero’s Journey comes full circle with the Boon or Treasure that the hero brings back to loved ones. All loose ends are tied up and the stage is set for a new adventure. You can learn the most from companies that have mastered the art of the positive customer experience, such as Apple, Nordstrom, and Virgin Atlantic.

Promote the posts of happy customers and create contests for user-generated content on social media. Your marketing budget will swell when customers themselves create your best content for free.

The eternal return on investment

Wait a minute, Superhero! This is no time to hang up your cape. If you want your business to keep growing, you can’t walk away from this relationship you’ve worked so hard to earn and nurture and go back to being Clark Kent. Superman must always be ready for the next challenge while making sure that those he saved are thriving. It’s time again to guide new prospects through the seas of the Buyer’s Journey to the safe harbor of purchase. With the Customer’s Journey, you will send them out again into the wild sea, well-equipped to tell the world about your company.

Don’t worry—you’ll see your best customers again soon. The harder you work, the better a hero you’ll be, and the more repeat business and referrals you’ll see. Maybe it’s time for you to get a sidekick (a new line of business).

A hero’s work is never done.  There’s always time to learn and improve.  After all, every superhero has a weakness they need to overcome and new villains to defeat.

Want to learn more? See Deepen the Customer Relationship.


About Jennifer Schulze

Jennifer Schulze is Vice President of marketing for SAP. In her role, she manages customer marketing as part of the office of the COO. She has over 15 years of technology marketing and management experience and is a small business owner in the San Francisco Bay area.