Following its first conference on new customers' expectations in the French swimming pool market, the FPP has stated the need to address changes in the way customers go about buying pools – an essential step in developing the swimming pool sector! Below is a summary of this conference about customer experience and new buying habits, organized during pool show Piscine Global Europe 2018.
Changes in the purchasing process have reoriented the swimming pool market
Traditionally, customers bought swimming pools by calling in a professional, but this is changing. Behavior is evolving following the explosion of Web platforms, encouraging customers to seek information by themselves before approaching a professional. For better… and for worse!
In addition to the omnipresence of the Web in customer buying habits, other factors are emerging in the swimming pool sector:
- The new generation of purchasers may become owners with the intention of letting or sharing their houses. Some of them even let out their pools on an hourly or daily basis.
- Global warming boost swimming pool sales and demands for enhanced performance water saving equipment.
- The aging population opens the way to new maintenance solutions and swimming pools which are easier to maintain.
These modifications in purchasing behavior make it essential to change our customer approach.
Important changes to meet new buying habits
Wherever clients have got to in their approach to buying, they all want personalized service. The FPP specifies that this approach has almost become a quest for life and it is essential not to let customers fall by the wayside.
Before buying a swimming pool
Today’s customers seek simplicity and do not inevitably visit showrooms to obtain information. The Web is open to all and depending on their sources, customers may obtain contradictory and even erroneous information. The swimming pool professionals have to educate potential customers upstream through training - and friendliness!
This new trend implies the development of a multimedia customer approach (social networks, e-mails, on-line stores…). You have to reach out to get customers – and not wait for them to find you!
These changes also mean that all your proposals must be personalized. Customers want to feel that their pool is their pool – even if it has been manufactured industrially. You have to make them think that their pools have been specifically designed for them.
During the transaction
Digitalization is here to stay but human contact is still the dominant factor when selling a pool to a customer. The FPP states that the human factor rates 60% in the “best customer experiences” (vs. 7% for digital and 33% for mixed experiences)!
Speed of service is a major factor in customer experience. 88% of customers consider that answering requests immediately increases their loyalty. And the real killer is the failure to communicate with customers if a deadline cannot be met due to weather or a problem with logistics.
Currently, most customers do not return to their pool supplier after the purchase. There is a real opportunity for selling maintenance and renovation services at this point to make extra profit. So stay in contact with your customers after a pool sale!
Customer satisfaction assessment is the first step in this post-purchase contact. Companies often overestimate customer satisfaction. A satisfaction rating is a “must” solution to get a more objective vision of your customers’ perception.
Building up long-lasting relationships with customers is the key for developing the swimming pool industry – and customer experience is the cornerstone!
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