Customer Service is a Big Part of your Funnel Turning into a Flywheel
We are seeing a dramatic shift from funnel marketing to flywheel marketing. But, for many marketers, the funnel is a trusted sidekick, making it difficult to kick it to the side.
Conversion charts are typically depicted in a funnel format. What goes in at the top flows to the bottom and goes out. Much of the time, though, leads that come in at the top don’t make it to the bottom. Instead, they jump ship before making an actual purchase.
A lot of energy goes into moving leads from the top to the bottom of the funnel, but what happens after they make a purchase and exit the bottom? Where does all that energy go? Did you know it’s 9x easier to get a customer to buy from you again than it is to gain a new customer?
With funnel marketing, you lose the energy you invested into a customer after they exit the funnel, regardless if they made a purchase or not. With flywheel marketing, the energy is restored, repurposed, and released to expand brand awareness. It focuses on the entire customer journey. Each spoke on the flywheel adds to the momentum of your marketing efforts.
Let’s explore why it’s time for your brand to hop aboard the flywheel marketing wagon. More importantly, let’s laser-focus on why customer service and happy customers are the biggest parts of your funnel turning into a flywheel.
Important Customer Service Statistics (1)
- More than half of consumers in America have ditched a plan to buy a product because of poor customer service.
- 51% of consumers will switch to a different company once they experience poor customer service.
- 95% of consumers are apt to tell their friends about poor customer service. Only 11% are apt to tell them about good customer service.
- $62B are lost each year by American companies due to poor customer service.
- 70% of consumers will pay more money for a product if it comes with superior customer service.
- Increasing customer retention by 5% can increase your profits by as much as 95%.
- It takes 5 to 25 times more money to capture a new customer than to keep an existing one.
- American consumers will spend up to 17% more on a product if it is accompanied by a good customer experience.
What’s Wrong With Funnel Marketing?
Funnel marketing focuses too much on the conversion. It doesn’t take into account what happens to the customer after they are converted. More so, it doesn’t use your existing customers as a part of a brand awareness strategy.
HubSpot is known for being one of the world’s most successful content management and search engine optimization platforms. In fact, it’s brand name has become synonymous with inbound marketing. When this marketing giant recommends a certain marketing approach, it’s because its been endlessly tested and proven itself to be tried and true.
John Dick with HubSpot says, “Funnels produce customers, but don’t consider how those customers can help you grow. And all the momentum you built acquiring that customer? Gone. Each day, each month, and each quarter, we have to start new.”
Not only is the funnel inefficient, but it also causes you to ignore your existing client base. All of your energy is focused on acquiring new customers rather than retaining the ones you have. And once that new customer converts into a sale, all of the invested energy is lost.
Flywheel marketing upholds the momentum of your invested energy, and any additional energy that you add causes the flywheel to spin faster. Your marketing efforts are multiplied instead of coming to a halt.
Customer Reviews and Word-of-Mouth Marketing are at the Core of Flywheel Marketing
The internet is making it simple to be the ultimate informed consumer. Louder than any other marketing method is your customer’s voice.
Consumers are performing research to obtain a clear view of how businesses treat their customers. They are heavily relying on word-of-mouth recommendations and online reviews to fuel their purchasing decisions. As a result, the power to convert a customer now falls into the hands of your existing customers rather than your own.
Customers have higher expectations than they’ve ever had. They demand effective products accompanied by a superior purchasing experience and exceptional customer service.
Gone are the days of consumers turning to blog posts and landing pages of brands highlighting their own products. Consumers want reviews from people who have actually used your product. They want instant access to communication with your company to have all of their questions answered, thus being a reason customer service chat features are so important. 45% of your customers are going to abandon the transaction if they can’t find quick and helpful answers during the checkout process.
A funnel marketing strategy doesn’t focus on customer advocacy near as much as flywheel marketing. With the latter, your marketing strategies delve deep into creating an appealing onboarding experience for the new customer. They begin the onboarding process with reviews and recommendations from existing customers to showcase why the product is worth purchasing.
Your existing customers who have had a happy experience are your greatest asset; they market your brand for you to the new customer.
What Does Flywheel Marketing Look Like?
An effective flywheel marketing approach is going to have a central focus: outstanding customer service.
Only 3% of consumers view marketers as being trustworthy. Instead, they put their trust in online reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations. This means your current customers who have a good customer experience are your most valuable asset. They have the potential to present your brand as being trustworthy.
“Once your flywheel is spinning, momentum comes from retaining customers and transforming them into promoters who will advocate for your brand and even bring you new business.” (2)
By 2020, your brand’s customer experience is going to have more weight in converting customers than the price or usefulness of your product. It has quickly become the avenue to positive brand differentiation.
Amazon has done an extremely good job at using flywheel marketing to create the ultimate customer experience. For consumers, Amazon’s approach to customer service has now become their preferred standard. From overnight shipping to intricate algorithms that basically read the minds of consumers, brands are finding it difficult to maintain a competitive edge. After all, it takes millions of dollars to deliver a customer experience that comes even close to what Amazon provides.
Most brands don’t have millions to invest in marketing but delivering a positive customer experience is still possible.
Each spoke on the flywheel marketing approach must center around the customer experience. When customers have a good customer experience, this turns them into happy customers. Instead of tackling marketing as a linear process, you integrate tactics in a circular motion. The more energy you add to one spoke, the faster the whole wheel spins.
Ideally, you will invest most of your energy on the spokes that have the most potential to increase revenue. For a lot of businesses, increasing revenue is focused solely on acquiring new customers. They forget about turning their existing customers into repeat customers. They forget about enhancing the customer experience, which should always involve following up with customers who have already made a purchase.
Your flywheel is going to look different from the flywheels of other brands. Why? Because no two brands are the same. For every marketing funnel that you have, you’ll need to create a new flywheel. Your overarching flywheel is going to have mini flywheels that all interconnect with one another. Still yet, at the center of each flywheel is the customer experience. That is one aspect of the flywheel that remains the same from one brand to the next.
When creating your flywheel ecosystem, you need to outline your initiatives; these are going to represent your spokes. For example, one spoke should focus on thought leadership, which will involve publishing blog posts, white papers, case studies, executive commentaries, etc. Another spoke will focus on demand generation; this is where you’ll create email campaigns, direct mail strategies, account-based marketing tactics, etc.
You can create as many spokes as you like for each flywheel, but to keep things simple and to make it easier to measure each flywheel’s conversion rate, you’ll probably want to have a maximum of three to five spokes.
No matter the spoke you’re focusing on, you must ask yourself, “how does this translate into a good customer experience?” Let’s say you’re creating a blog post on 5 Reasons to Buy Accounting Software. You must position the topic in a way that it leaves the reader not only considering making a purchase, but that informs the reader of how it has helped other customers.
Customer testimonials and case studies are going to produce much greater leverage than a blog post talking about your specific product. The goal is to explain why a certain type of product is going to meet their needs, and then allow your case studies and customer testimonials to highlight why your product is the best one.
The power of customer testimonials is enormous. (3)
- 95% of consumers will read an online review before making a purchase.
- A mind-boggling 92% of B2B buyers base their purchases off trusted reviews.
- Publishing reviews on your site can increase your brand’s conversion rate by as much as 270%.
To get positive reviews, you must master good customer service. This is precisely why your flywheels need to focus on the customer experience more than anything else.
Turning Your Funnel Into a Flywheel
You still need funnel outlines to succeed in flywheel marketing.
The buyer’s journey is a multi-layered process that stems from an introduction and then (hopefully) turns into a conversion. You can’t provide good customer service without pinpointing the process the customer is going through; this is why you still need funnel outlines. Without them, it becomes difficult to create your flywheels.
The purpose of creating the flywheels is to make sure each part of the funnel feeds off one another. More importantly, to ensure once the conversion has taken place, that the energy invested into acquiring the customer can be used to drive new customers into the beginning phase of the buyer’s journey.
Once you have developed your funnels, it then becomes time to turn them into flywheels. First, you’ll start by identifying your marketing key performance indicators (KPIs). You’ll need a good understanding of inbound marketing to create and measure KPIs.
Next, determine how you can better meet these KPIs through word-of-mouth recommendations and online reviews. It all comes back to providing quality customer service. The better the customer experience, the easier it becomes to achieve KPIs.
To enhance customer service, you must spot areas of friction in the marketing flywheel that hinder a good customer experience. Are your customers constantly having to be transferred to different departments to get their inquiries addressed? Can your customers easily identify your customer service phone number without having to click on numerous pages? Does the funnel require a customer to speak with more than one employee to make a purchase?
“Often, friction exists because two teams are moving in opposite directions. For example, marketing is traditionally goaled on an overall lead generation number — but optimizing for lead quantity doesn’t always lead to good-fit customers.” (4)
After addressing friction, you’ll need to look at the core activities attached to each spoke on the flywheel. Your thought leadership will have publishing content as its core activity. This publishing practice needs to be deployed in a manner so that it moves the customer into the next stage of the buyer’s journey.
For example, a blog post showcasing your thought leadership should include a CTA that invites the reader to check out a product (your product) that is being discussed in the content. But remember, the content in the blog shouldn’t focus solely on your product. It focuses on a type of product that can meet the reader’s need. Not until they click on the CTA do they discover your product as being the exact type of product they need.
Your overarching flywheel will have the customer at the center and three spokes surrounding it: attract, engage, delight.
You attract through content marketing. This is going to include blog postings, video tutorials, customer testimonials, case studies, etc. You engage by building relationships with customers. You interact with them to understand their needs and to show them you are truly concerned with meeting those needs. If you don’t think your product can meet their exact needs, you direct them to a brand that can. You familiarize yourself with the roadblocks that your customers encounter and continue publishing content that outlines how you can help them overcome these obstacles.
The last part of the flywheel is all about delighting the customer with optimal customer service. You prove that you are along for the ride whether or not the customer makes a purchase. That you are willing to do whatever it takes to empower your audience to reach their goals. You follow up with customers who have made a purchase and make sure they are satisfied not only with the product but pleased with your brand as well. This is a part of the flywheel that involves sending out Net Promoter Score surveys to gather valuable insight on how well you were able to meet your customers’ needs. It also involves asking customers to leave reviews and testimonials.
When customers leave their feedback, this creates a gold mine of content to center the Attract spoke around. You can turn the testimonials into videos, case studies, blog postings, and more.
Each spoke on the flywheel keeps the entire marketing approach spinning in motion. As customers exit what would have been the bottom of the funnel, the energy and monies you have invested into them don’t go to waste.
In the traditional funnel, customers who jump ship before making a purchase don’t add any value to the rest of the funnel. With flywheel marketing, customers who jump ship still contribute to the momentum of the spinning wheel.
Key Aspects to Remember When Creating a Flywheel
For new businesses, the majority of resources will be allocated to the Attract and Engage spokes on the flywheel. You have to get these spokes turning before you can close on deals. Once the flywheel is in motion, though, you can then start focusing more on the Delight spoke. The goal is to retain your existing customers and convert them into promoters of your brand.
An excellent example of re-strategizing your funnel into a flywheel is to change the goals of your marketing team. Instead of focusing solely on acquisition, the marketing team splits its focus on acquiring new customers AND retaining the ones you have.
“Some of your biggest friction points can be smoothed by re-setting goals or introducing processes that re-orient teams in the same direction.” (5)
The traditional conversion path needs to change from having prospects fill out lead generation forms to allowing them to connect you with via chat, by phone, email, OR filling out a lead generation form.
You’ll also need to create a customer expansion strategy that follows up with customers and helps them get the most out of your product rather than leaving them hanging after they make a purchase.
To address friction that impedes the flywheel from gaining momentum, ask yourself:
- What is causing friction? Are customers wanting to try a free demo of your product without having to talk to a salesperson?
- Can anything be automated to eliminate this friction? Are automated follow-up emails being sent to customers 7 days after making a purchase or trying a demo?
- How can team reorganization minimize friction? Do customers have to speak to multiple sales teams if they purchase more than one product?
89% of customers become extremely aggravated and endure a poor customer experience when they have to repeat the same information to more than one representative. Does your marketing funnel address this issue? With the flywheel strategy, team reorganization ensures the customer can receive quick and correct answers. Instead of siloing your teams, all teams work together and are well-versed in all departments.
Flywheel marketing nurtures the customer relationship by providing outstanding customer service no matter where the customer is at in the buyer’s journey. Certain spokes of the flywheel may receive a higher number of resources and a larger portion of your attention, but at the center of the flywheel is the customer experience. This ensures no matter the spoke being focused on, customer service beats as the heart of your entire marketing strategy.
If you would like to learn more about how you can turn your funnel into a flywheel, please connect with me on your favorite social media or connect with me directly at www.joshj360.com.
To your success!