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Customer Experiences Don't End With A Sale - Patagonia Spotlight

03 August 2018

Mindset of the modern customer, global consumerism and the perpetual business growth drive have contributed to a overarching culture of buying things purely based on trends, or replacing items which are still perfectly usable but perceivably passé.

Likewise, so many businesses make great efforts to seduce the potential customer up to the point of sale, providing great a customer experience which ends when the transaction is completed. In the marketing and sales world, we obsess over ‘filling the funnel’ with sales leads and having the best online reviews possible. After all, 92% of people trust online business reviews as much as personal recommendations to determine where they will buy.

However, post-sale customer experiences are most often where long-term loyalty and customer advocacy are built. Combine that with clear, appealing brand values and you’re onto something that can become a brand people love. This is where Patagonia, leader in outdoor apparel and equipment, does such a great job that it's been creating customer advocates for decades; championing sustainability and  environmental causes. Not afraid to go against the grain with adverts like Black Friday’s ‘Don’t Buy This Jacket’ adverts, one of the initiatives that cemented Patagonia as a lovebrand leader, is that they live up to their sustainability ethos with the Ironclad Guarantee. This guarantee states that any customer not completely satisfied will have easy options to repair, replace or refund their purchase. The brand has run initiatives like Worn Wear enabling the public to buy secondhand items or get their old ones repaired, contributing to sustainability and earning fans worldwide with their against-the-grain business model.

The Patagonia model shows that strong brand values combined with proactive, innovative CX results in a tangible uplift in customer advocacy. Their customers are all too happy to share their experiences all over social media, exclaiming delight in service and posting captivating photos of themselves in beautiful surroundings, kitted out in Patagonia gear. In a world where the #1 most common source of new leads are referrals and highly-engaged customers buy 90% more often and spend 60% more per transaction, brand advocates benefit is twofold: Firstly, they attract referrals to the brand as de facto brand ambassadors and, secondly, they help minimise customer churn by default.

Michael Crooke, former Patagonia CEO explain: “Customers become advocates of brands because they develop an emotional connection with their core purpose. Brands that elicit advocacy provide a value beyond just product quality and experience. This connection is something that deserves analysis, as it is the foundation of true loyalty.”

Many brands take cues from their competitors to shape their product and customer experiences. You may have noticed how car manufacturers design their products to intentionally look like others, taking visual cues from the competition and incorporating them to their vehicles. All in an effort not to ‘stick out too much’ and appeal to a wider audience by looking familiar. Every so often a disruptor comes along and changes the whole industry model. Tesla’s showroom approach has now started to become the standard with Mazda and Toyota following suit. Authenticity and customer focus bring loyalty, advocacy, growth. Is your business leading or following?


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