Over recent decades, companies of all sizes have grown at an exponential rate, turning the business world into an increasingly competitive environment. As a result, many companies have been forced out of business within their first 5 years- whilst some could barely make it past their first and/or second year.

Although the competition is high, it does not indicate that there is no room for new firms to succeed. More important than company size, is the brand messaging to the key, targeted audiences.

Whilst money can sometimes be the usual motive for people to start a business, it is also what causes them to struggle to keep their doors open for business. Doing business is not as easy as it may seem to the public eyes, the sole purpose is to enhance people's lives by turning the existing resources into useful creations that will benefit communities.

The most common mistake that businesses make is that they are steered  in the direction of failure, when they put their focus on themselves and the competitors, instead of what the customers need. Corporations often mistaken assume that the only way to build their brand and its reputation is by toppling their competitors.

Without a clear brand essence, and focused mission - companies may veer off into the murky waters of unneeded, uninspired, and irrelevance.

The Brand Essence.
Building a brand is an exciting process, and at the heart of it all, is the brand essence.

Don't just deliver.

When it comes to doing business, we often refer to the law of supply and demand. Indeed, business involves delivering a response to the customer's needs- but that is only the tip of the iceberg.

Businesses thrive on consumer transactions, hence why the customer journey is vital to businesses. It may be easy to deliver the products and services to meet the consumer's demand, but the entire customer experience is what truly sets the brand apart from their competitors.

The Customer Journey.
When you’re close to your own product or service, it can be difficult to fully understand the entirety of the ‘customer journey’. Mapping out the process of all potential touch-points between your brand and customers will allow you to greatly optimize processes to improve experiences.

Consumers have a lot of options when it comes to picking products and services, therefore multiple factors come in to play rather than purely the end-price.

Whilst buyers like to compare the same products by perceived quality and price, these factors can sometimes be very similarly positioned, making it hard to distinguish a clear choice. This is why the customer journey can be used to add intrigue, flare, or outright great customer experiences - from the CSR elements of a brand, to the unique way it may position itself in the market.

The IKEA effect is a good example of an exemplary customer experience. It is a win-win strategy for both the corporation and the customers. A person may remember where they got the product from when it is still fresh in their mind, but they will likely to forget it with time. Therefore, businesses need to create an experience that sticks with the customers and constantly reminds them of the brand.

The IKEA effect versus ‘Not Invented Here’ (NIH)
Buying an unassembled item may seem to be a purely cost-saving strategy, but the added benefits from self-builds can be powerful.

In this context, the IKEA effect embeds the customer aftercare with the products that the company deliver to its consumers.  There's a harmony between the customer creating their own items, and the supplier making this possible at a fair pricepoint and with considerate support.

Customer aftercare refers to the actions a company takes to communicate with a customer after the sale has been completed.

Tips on customer aftercare.

At Mäd, each exchange we make with our clients is beyond a customer transaction. Relationships are what we value in our business operations, as previously discussed in our transactions vs relationships insight.

Transactions vs Relationships.
In the business world, there are mainly two types of exchanges, we discuss why we have relationships with our clients, not transactions.

We strongly believe that our relationship with the clients should not end after the product delivery. Therefore, we have listed some of the best practices for customer aftercare:

Content marketing.

Content marketing is a good strategy for businesses to stay in touch with their customers via newsletters, emails, social media, etc. However, businesses often misuse this practice and end up spamming the customers with contents, leading to unsubscriptions and negative opinions.

Frequency and quality are important when it comes to content marketing. As much as companies want to stay on the customer's radar with company updates, you need to be mindful that customers are being subjected to an increasingly huge volume of advertising and marketing daily. If a customer likely receives 10 spam-like newsletters a day, then you should be targeting them via a different method or perhaps sending a short personal e-mail rather than a mass company communication.

Digital marketing experts estimate that most Americans are exposed to around 4,000 to 10,000 ads each day.

For example, at Mäd, we always update our clients with our current projects as well as what's new in the office with our monthly Mäd newsletter; We don't try to sell any products or services in our newsletters, but rather take the opportunity to discuss useful ideas and update past clients on our ongoing projects and industry positioning.

Aim to help. Not to force a sale.

Client appreciation.

After sales are made to customers, businesses have two options: Whether they want to bid the customers goodbye and move on to the next prospects, or if they are going to show a lasting appreciation to their new clients.

Many businesses may see their products as one-time sales, like buying a car- you're unlikely to go out and buy a second car from the same supplier the next month. However, the lifetime value of a customer can be huge. As a customer becomes trusting and loyal to a brand, they're more likely to encourage new custom or indeed repeat custom in the future. After all, it's easier to re-sell to existing customers that have already made the decision to give your brand a try, than to cold-sell to new customers.

Client appreciation does not have to be something fancy, or wrapped under a ribbon, because it is the thought that counts. A simple thank-you letter or a basic gift basket from the company goes a long way. Although it may seem insignificant for businesses, it means a lot to the customers as it shows a personal touch and a genuine humble side to your brand.

On that note, we'd like to remind Mäd clients (past, present, and future) that our office is always open for chats, coffees, a drink from our bar, a browse of our library, or even the occasional game of Fifa21!

Thought leadership.

Acclaiming yourself as a leader does not make you one.

Likewise, a thought leadership campaign is not determined by the organization itself but by the credentials/credibility that the company holds in their specialized field- or perhaps more importantly, the customer perception of the brand.

Although thought leaders are known as experts in their field, they are still operating continuously learning. In fact, leaders have gone through large amounts of trial-and-error, just like other businesses do, but how they turn those challenges into useful resources and insights for others is what separates them as industry leaders.

Thought Leadership.
Intellectual influence and innovative or pioneering thinking.

Mäd strives to find opportunities to improve and challenge ourselves, to continue offering more valuable insights and tips for our clients, as well as our public audience. Aiming to be thought leaders is a great aim, as it keeps our team pushing forward towards lofty heights and inspired results.

Final Thoughts.

Never overlook the small elements.

High impact can be found from attention to detail in your business plan, such as customer aftercare. By having a thought-through customer journey mapped out, you can identify ideal strategy to attract customers, and retain them.

The success of a brand is not based on the quality and price alone, but by the customers and brand followers.

One happy customer may attract another four, which can in turn snowball into huge word-of-mouth campaigns. So, have a look at your marketing costs for advertising and new customer acquisition, and ask yourself - are we equally as focused on customer retention and positive lasting experiences?

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If you would like to #workwithmad then send us an email at hi@mad.co and let's Make It Happen.™