Chipotle Mexican Grill didn’t reach nearly $6 billion in annual revenue because it’s a fast, casual Mexican restaurant.
When we explore the psychological triggers behind why people buy Chipotle, we see one consistent pattern.
Customers love Chipotle because they have options. It’s a burrito haven where frontline employees prepare those options right in front of them.
Since Chipotle customers have the freedom to get what they want, their customer lifetime value increases.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at 13 simple ways your brand can put customers in the driver’s seat.
When onboarding new customers
When a customer decides to give you a try, they want the sign-up process to be quick. They don’t want to fill out a million fields or click through a 10-page funnel. They want to sign up and gain access to the offer as painlessly as possible.
Here are some ways to put the customer in control during the onboarding process.
Give them a variety of sign-up options
Giving customers sign-up options gives them the freedom to choose how they want to give you their information.
Not only does this save them time filling out fields, but it also helps them get access to your offer immediately. Check out how StuDocu does this:
When deciding on which sign-up options to offer, consider your customer. Where do they spend the most time? Chances are, it’s mostly on a social media channel like Facebook and Instagram or in their email inbox.
If you’re unsure where your customers spend their time online, ask them directly via a quick survey or conduct consumer behavior research.
Invite them to set user preferences
Once you’ve converted a prospect into a customer, invite them to exercise their right to choose how they hear from you.
Are you planning on sending them emails? Ask them how often they want to receive emails from you. Do you want to notify them about new webinars by text? Ask them if they’re interested.
When customers control when and how they hear from you, it fosters a customer-centric relationship.
Let them choose a method to get in touch
Whether you’re selling a complex product or you’re trying to onboard an enterprise, let customers choose the way they get in touch with you.
For instance, Track-POD, a route optimization software, gives customers the chance to book an appointment directly through its chatbot. This way, potential clients can choose the time and date for their product presentation.
When customers make purchases
Your customers want the freedom to choose the best packages, pricing, and payment methods that match their needs. When customers make purchases, use these strategies to give them more control.
Give them a variety of package options
Giving customers a variety of packages to choose from is the only way to appeal to segmented audiences. Typically, customers want to see a basic-level package, a mid-level package, and a high-level package. When deciding on your package options, stick with three to four options. Be sure to include more features and offers with each upgraded package.
Offer tiered pricing
Correct price matching keeps your loyal customers from drifting to competitors.
A great way to get price matching right is by offering tiered pricing.
Tiered pricing means you offer a range of prices from low to high. As your prices increase, so will the number of features you offer.
(Hint: You may find that most people fit well in a mid-range price option.)
For instance, ActiveCampaign, an email automation platform, gives customers more control over the software. On its pricing page, customers can choose from a variety of prices depending on their needs.
Offer product/service customization
Give customers the option to customize their product or service with upgrades, custom offers, and add-ons.
Here are some more examples of offering custom options:
- If a customer is maxing out their storage in one of your SaaS products, reach out with a discount to upgrade their package
- Offer add-on bonus services and products at check-out
- Record videos about how to customize your product or service and use them in email and social media marketing campaigns
For instance, Reply’s email finder subscription provides customers with free and paid options.
But the unlimited option is offered as a free add-on if a customer purchases one of its sales engagement plans.
Give customers some flexibility over how they pay you
From PayPal working with Cryptocurrencies to freelancers using Transferwise to get paid, more people are using various payment methods than ever before.
Here are some quick tips on giving customers flexibility over how they pay you:
- Offer traditional payment methods like cash, debit card, and credit card options
- Accept alternative payment methods like PayPal, Wise, and Stripe
- Create a self-service payment portal
- Let customers pay with mobile payments like Apple Pay
- Let customers choose what they pay (offer a few ideas on what amounts they could pay)
- Get on the Cryptocurrency train if it’s feasible for your business
Let customers choose their own offers
Give customers more control by letting them choose their own offers.
From letting customers receive discounts on the products of their choice to letting them make personal service and product requests, this is an opportunity to let your customer run the show.
When you’re marketing
Your marketing tactics also have to give your customers the freedom to make choices. Here are some ways to put customers in the driver’s seat when you’re marketing. Give customers an honest look at product/service options.
When you’re marketing product and service comparisons, be sure to give customers an honest list of what’s available. If you’re including your product or service, make sure to include the pros and cons of your offer, too — not just those of your competitors.
For instance, this video from Buzzsprout on the best podcast microphones intends to provide customers with clear options for the best, affordable tools to create their podcasts.
Here are some other ways to give customers an honest look at offer choices:
- Conduct a case study that compares your product or service with a competitor’s product or service
- Ask customers to post an honest, public review about your product or service — the good and the bad
- In your product and service descriptions, list the features your offer has and doesn’t have
- In your product or service descriptions, explain who the offer is for and who it isn’t for (i.e., this course is best suited for beginner programmers)
Being transparent about what you do and don’t offer helps customers make informed buying decisions.
Survey customers to ask about marketing preferences
Asking your customers what type of marketing they prefer gives them the freedom to decide how you talk to them.
With customers being bombarded with ads left and right, it’s refreshing to give customers options to tailor the way you market to them. To do this, simply run a survey asking customers what forms of marketing they prefer from you.
Here are some examples of fields you can include in your survey:
- Rate our current marketing style from one to five, with five being the greatest
- Do you prefer blog posts, social media posts, videos, webinars, or podcasts?
- What mix of blog posts, social media posts, videos, webinars, and podcasts do you prefer?
- Rate our current email newsletter from one to five, with five being the greatest
- What email content would you like to see?
- What blog or video content would you like to see?
- What else would you like?
- Create a knowledge base
Knowledge bases help customers solve issues themselves rather than dealing with customer service.
If you don’t know, a knowledge base is a dense collection of articles that help customers understand how to do something or learn about a topic.
Articles in a knowledge base are usually SEO-friendly and between 1,000 to 2,000 words.
Some examples of articles you’d see in a knowledge base are:
- Product or service demonstrations
- Customer or partner interviews
- Topic overview
When customers are on your website
Think of your website as a guide. Customers want to navigate your website without getting lost or confused. They want to be carefully guided to where they should start and what they should do after that.
Here are some ways to give your customers more control when they’re on your website.
Use AI to reduce unwanted interaction during the buyer journey
Online artificial intelligence tools like chatbots and digital assistants can reduce unwanted interaction during the buyer journey. AI tools point customers in the right direction on your website and guide them through their purchases.
And the good news? Sophisticated chatbots are becoming easier to create and set up.
Don’t put customers in a queue
Imagine that you just bought plane tickets with British Airways to fly from New York to London in July.
You were told British Airways are dog-friendly and you want to bring your dog with you on this trip. After making your purchase, you receive your flight itinerary and a message thanking you for your purchase.
After carefully reading your itinerary, you read that American Airlines is actually operating the flight — and they’ve suspended all animal transportation. Worried about what to do with your dog and a non-refundable ticket, you head to American Airlines’ website to look for support options.
The website says they’re not taking calls or responding to emails and that customers must use the chatbot to ask questions. After opening up the chatbot, you’re met with a message that says:
Thank you for your message, you’re the sixth person in the queue.
This is an example of what not to do to your customers.
Your customers often live busy lives and have a million things to do. Whatever support options you offer, don’t put customers in a queue. Attend to them as quickly as possible.
It’s up to you to provide options that give customers the control they’re looking for. Follow these 13 tips and put the buying power back into customers’ hands.e-commerce marketing