Tuesday, November 20, 2012
At Connections 2012 UK, I sat with over 700 marketing professionals at the end of a day packed with all kinds of valuable information, to listen to Joseph Jaffe’s keynote presentation based on his book, “Flip the Funnel.” At first I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to take in another sentence. With my brain already so full, how would it fit another drop of inspiration?
But right from the start the presentation was like a jolt of caffeine. I found myself nodding along the whole time. It was one of those talks where each point was so clear, and made so much sense you caught yourself thinking, “Well, that’s common sense…” only to realize it can’t be common sense, given how few companies are executing these ideas well!
Here are a few main takeaways I jotted down while I listened:
- Good service is good for business. I think the core concept that I heard throughout the talk was that “Flip the Funnel” is really a case for customer service moving into a marketing role. Because the happier you make your current customers the more future customers you will have. The old ways of doing business, bringing customers in, selling them what you’ve got, and then letting them churn because the call center is a cost center – really doesn’t hold water in a time where it’s so easy for us to get information from each other. You’ll have a harder and harder time bringing in new customers the more unhappy customers you have.
- Customer service is more than a Twitter (or Facebook, or Pinterest, etc.) account. If you’re on board that customer service is the new marketing, then you have to be on board to do it right. Too many businesses rely on technology to replace true service. It doesn’t work to take bad service and stick a Twitter account on it and call it good. It does work to shift the focus of your business to be providing excellent service and then replicate that across all the channels you communicate with customers on.
- And loyalty is more than a plastic card. To build on the point above, the objective of your heightened customer service is to create a sense of loyalty among your customers that goes beyond the traditional loyalty path (buy X get X free) and truly ties those customers to your business because they trust you and they know you care. These are the people who will tell their friends, and these are the people who will stick with you.
- At the end of the day, everything is (or will be) a commodity - except service. I think this was one of the more powerful arguments for the whole Flip the Funnel concept. Jaffe argued that everything we’re selling, no matter what it is, will become commoditized over time. Think of Amazon: in the early days Amazon was the only big competitor in the online shopping space. Then came Zappos, then came many many others. People stick with Amazon and Zappos because of the service, not because they can’t get the products anywhere else. So think about your business. You may be the biggest fish in your pond right now, but if someone else came along and started doing exactly what you do, would your customers stay with you because the service and experience they have with you is so positive? If the answer is no, you have some work to do.
It all makes sense right? But a lot of this is easier said than done. Next step is to ask yourself whether your company has got this down. If not, it would make a great resolution to add your list for 2013.
Want more? Add “Flip the Funnel” to your holiday reading list!