Who is Building YOUR Brand Equity?
Recently, I was sitting behind the mirror in a customer’s user study, and I heard a 25-year old Internet-savvy male explain to the researcher that he never visits the brand’s web page to get help because he can never find what he’s looking for there. He continued to explain his normal process to get help for something is to search via Google for an answer first and try to find some sort of forum where similar customers are asking related questions and see if he can suss out an answer to his question. He admitted that it was often hit and miss, and sometimes turned into a lengthy process, but it was easier than the brand’s alternative.
If you work for a company with a known brand, does this sound familiar? Is it right? When you spend millions, or tens of millions or hundreds of millions to build brand equity, do you really want to leave the final say in your brand experience to a 15-year old forum contributor?
According to many studies, including the one below by TSIA, the Internet is the first port of call for support. Given that fact, a brand that cares about building its equity must first figure out how do to get customers to its own digital properties vs. someone else’s through Google search results.
The answer is engagement. Marketing departments are pouring money into engagement platforms to try to stay in front of customers during the purchasing process. We should be doing the same after the sale. Especially in those moments of truth that drive the most need for support, e.g.: the setup process, the time around change in plans, renewals, upgrades, in-store visits, etc. Not sure what the moments of truth are for your customers? Find an analytics company and/or consultant that can help you understand your customer journey better.
Once you understand the moments of truth for your customers, find a way to offer a digital helping hand. It could be an outbound message or even well placed print collateral. From a usability perspective, the more “in-line” you can make the messaging, the more likely your customers will see it and follow the guideposts to the content you’ve created and want them to use. In my experience, I’ve seen usage rates go up by as much as 5x by integrating support messaging with the product usage experience. Make it a step in a setup flow. Put it in a verification email. Tell your customers you are there for them when they need you most, and, then, when they follow your directions to your property, be sure to give them what they need as quickly and easily as possible.