Exit Strategy: The Missing Link in your Customer Journey
by Clicktools Guest Blogger, Jeannie Walters
Many customer journey maps are missing one important area of the customer experience.
Too many maps and plans don’t have anything representing the “exit” phase of the customer journey.
Consider what happens when a customer stops being your customer. It may mean he or she has left you for a competitor. Or it may mean the original need for the product or service has evolved into something you don’t offer. It can mean lots of things.
It usually doesn’t mean the customer is telling you “hey! Put me back on your marketing lists as if I were never a customer!” But guess what typically happens?
Do you have an exit strategy?
Without a real exit strategy for customers, it’s too easy to think of the relationships your brand has with customers as one of two categories – customers or not customers.
I like to think about customer relationships in very real-world, down-to-earth terms. It is too easy to start thinking about customers in terms of transactions only if that’s how your systems, marketing automation and segments are defined.
Instead of seeing the exit phase of the journey as a time when customers become strangers again, here are a few ways to creatively build a relationship with former customers.
1. Ask questions about the departure.
If there is a formal way to do this, your organization will start to see early signs of what customers aren’t getting. Maybe they aren’t getting the updates and features they are seeing from competitors. Or maybe they aren’t getting the attention they want. Or perhaps they aren’t happy with how they receive communication.
These are things customers may not tell you until the end of the relationship, so pay attention. They are speaking on behalf of many other customers who are considering ending the relationship for the same reasons.
2. Consider a special segment for customers who have left.
If a customer has had a long-term relationship with your organization, it can be fairly insulting to suddenly receive cold sales calls or impersonal marketing emails. Some former customers want to know about future updates, especially if they provided feedback.
Consider creating a special segment to communicate to this special group in a personalized, considerate way. It can be very meaningful for an ex-customer to receive a special communication inviting her back to experiment with a feature or improvement she originally suggested. It’s a special way to show you are listening.
3. Reach out for honest conversations.
We’ve all been subjected to those “win back” campaigns with emails yelling “WE WANT YOU BACK” after we have left as a customer. They feel like what they are – marketing campaigns.
If we return to an experience just as the one we left, we’ll be disappointed twice-over as a customer of the brand. If former customers are seen as friends who are willing to be honest, it changes the whole dynamic of the conversation.
Don’t look at them as prospects, look at them as a really fantastic focus group. They won’t tell you what you want to hear – they will tell you the truth. Ask for opinions on how your experience compares to the competition. Ask for advice and suggestions. Don’t assign these friends to your most aggressive salesperson. Instead, nurture them and win them back the old fashioned way – by responding to their real needs.
Take another look at your total customer journey.
Have you considered the exit? If the only consideration is where to put the sign, it’s time to look a little more closely at this critical part of the experience.