A completely unpaid, raving customer experience review of DiscountFilters.com

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Think about what gets you excited every day. What is your passion? What fuels your inner fire? What do  you really care about? What really gets your wheels turning?

Let me guess: refrigerator water filters

No? That’s not it? I’m not surprised. They don’t do much to spark my interest either. I just need them once every six months or so to make sure that my water stays clean & pure. Pretty basic stuff. Pretty easy to gloss over, to even forget. Unless, that is, your buying experience is one that will stick with you forever. Which it what happened to me. Let me explain.

Phase one: research

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We have an LG refrigerator with a push-button water dispenser that we love (it’s  the little things, guys). The fridge came with our house, so when it came time to replace the water filter, we had no idea which one to get since we weren’t sure where to find the model number. What’s a millennial to do when they can’t figure something out? Google, of course.

One quick search for “LG water filters” gets me more results than expected, and I hit up the first unpaid listing (I know, marketer that I am, terrible) that appeared – the LG website. Let me tell you, I thought our fridge was newer, but as it turned out I was mistaken. I spent hours looking through LG fridge models on their site to locate mine, to no avail. It was too old.

Say it ain’t so!

Phase two: Ah-ha moment

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Ready to give up and purchase a random filter, hoping that it would work but not knowing for sure, I tried one more search on Google “LG refrigerator model search”. Against my (normally) better judgement, I clicked on a Google AdWords ad for a website called DiscountFilters.com that promised to find me my LG filter. I was wary of the site at first – usually anything with “discount” in the name makes me question it. But I forged on. (Don’t worry, this is where it gets good, I promise).

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I was brought to this page.

From there, I could select…

  • Brand: LG
  • Style: French 3-Door
  • Filter Location: Upper Right Interior
  • Removal: Twist to remove

And BOOM. I had found my filter.

In all my hours (and hours (and hours)) of online activity, I have never had a more pleasureable, easy, understanding user experience. I felt like there was a person on the other end asking me these very specific questions, and the diagrams with each question helped to further assure me that I was making the right choice. I’m telling you, even if you don’t need a water filter, go through the experience to try it yourself. It. Is. Amazing.

But that’s not even the best part.

Phase three: Cha-ching!

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For one, ONE of the same filters sold by LG on Amazon? $49.23 with free shipping.

For a three, THREE pack of these filters from DiscountFilters.com? $47.55…. with free shipping!!

You guys, I can’t make this stuff up.

Like I said before, I was wary of the word “discount” in the name of the site, but the excellent user experience had helped gain my trust, and I felt confident placing my order with them.

But wait, there’s more.

Phase four: Surprise & delight

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Within about an hour of ordering, I received a personalized email from Jon at DiscountFilters.com asking me to verify my mailing address (since I have a PO Box it gives me problems sometimes). I responded, and 5 mintues later he had sent me another email confirming and thanking me. In this day and age, I’ve come to expect my interactions – especially online – to primarily be with computers, software, automated programs, etc. So it was the cherry on top of my already delicous water-filter-heaven cake that I received a personal email – and so quickly!

As for the filters, they arrived as expected in less than a week, & have my refrigerator pumping out pure, clean water again – hallelujah!

Phase five: the aftermath

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As you can expect from a company that is clearly digitally advanced, after placing my order I received the occasional marketing email and retargeted Facebook ad. But it didn’t bother me. My experience had been so pleasant – so seamless – that I was okay with them following me around for a bit, so to speak. Their emails even include – you guessed it – more discounts!

Their effectiveness at staying top of mind for me lead me to making another purchase from them recently. I knew I wanted to order from them again, so I just Googled DiscountFilters (with my part number for my filter, which I now have written down), clicked on the first paid ad that appeared, clicked 2 more times to order my replacement 3-pack, and went on my merry way (you’re welcome, marketing analytics team at DiscountFilters.com)

Lessons learned

As a (extremely part-time) blogger & marketing nerd, I can’t resist summarizing the many valuable lessons learned from this experience. I’ll try to keep it brief…

  • UNDERSTAND THE STRUGGLE: DiscountFilters.com clearly understood that customers looking for filters probably don’t know their refrigerator model number. So they made it extremely easy to figure out. Know what your audience is struggling with, and how you can help to solve it. Simple as that.
  • TOUCHPOINTS ARE KEY: DiscountFilters.com shows up in my email, on my Facebook page, and in my Google searches, and stays top-of-mind for me when I need replacement filters. Be aware of all your customer touchpoints, and optimize each for the best experience.
  • GO ABOVE AND BEYOND: DiscountFilters.com has an auto-delivery feature you can sign up for so that you receive 3 new filters every 18 months at a fixed rate. You literally don’t ever need to think about refrigerator filters again. Unless you want to, then go for it. This unexpected feature sets them apart from others – how can you set your company apart?
  • BE A TRUSTED SOURCE: As I mentioned, I was wary at first. But clearly displayed on DiscountFilters.com are McAfee Secure, Google Trusted and BizRate Excellence badges. Trust building: initiated. The customer experience, then, put it over the top. Building trust is the first step in a long-lasting relationship (and the first step towards getting reactions like mine to your customer experience :))

I told you this was the review you didn’t know you needed. I hope you’ve learned something from it. And I hope that, if you ever need water (or air!) filters, you use DiscountFilters.com. And I assure you, this review is completely unpaid, unsponsored, un-anything except for a marketing geek documenting a really, really great experience.

For more nerdy stuff like this, subscribe to my blog or follow me on Twitter at @emilybertram3

Thanks for seeing what #EmilyFayeSays!

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July LMM Spotlight: Waite Fusion

*This is the first in my new monthly series, Local Marketing Masters Spotlight, where I highlight local businesses that are doing something really cool with their marketing. If you have suggestions for my next one, please contact me!*

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Diet fads. They’re literally everywhere. Pills, shakes, bars, cleanses, meal plans, supplements, powders – the list goes on and on. But what do these various forms of weight loss plans have in common? They’re all expensive. And with only a select few actually being effective, it’s hard to know which one to trust.

Enter: Waite Fusion

Call me naive, but until recently I’d never heard of “Herbalife Shake Shops.” I’d always thought the only way to try the weight loss shake program was to purchase the (expensive) mix and experiment with recipes on your own. Turns out, Waite Fusion will do that for ya!

How I heard

I first found out about Waite Fusion at a St. Cloud Chamber of Commerce event called Chamber Connection. One of the women who work at Waite Fusion, Amy, was attending for the first time, and we started chatting. I asked her what Waite Fusion was – having no clue – and she offered me a coupon to come try a shake for free. I’m fairly familiar with many diet trends, including shakes, so I was excited to give it a shot sometime. Plus, her outgoing, friendly personality was a draw for me. One day at work when I didn’t pack a lunch, I decided to try it.

Who they are

Waite Fusion itself is located in a tiny blue house-turned-shake-shop on a busy main road in St. Cloud, close to downtown and St. Cloud State University. From the moment you walk in, customer experience is at the forefront. The music is always bumpin’ happy tracks, the young women who work there are extremely friendly and helpful, and the decor is half college dorm half vintage shake shop. Waite Fusion offers 37+ different Herbalife shake flavors and you can purchase them for $7 a piece. The 16oz shake is meant to be a meal replacement, and also includes a “shot” of aloe and a small iced tea. There are also options to start your own Herbalife journey with one of the coaches, if you’re interested in that, but you’re not obligated to.

What they do wellwf4

  • The first piece of marketing was apparent before I even entered the shop. The coupon that Amy gave to me to try a free shake wasn’t the most beautiful thing I’d ever seen, but it was perfectly informative. It got three immediate points across: Nutritional – not ice cream. Free – no obligation. And Location – very specific directions. Simple and to the point, this is proof that less is more.
  • I eluded to this next one above: Customer. Experience. From the moment I met Amy until I bought my first shake, (and one of the reasons I keep going back) Waite Fusion made my quick lunch stop an experience to enjoy. No pressure to purchase the whole Herbalife system. No hesitation or judgement if you ask questions. Just a pleasant experience that leaves you feeling like you’ve got a new group of friends.
  • When I got my first Waite Fusion shake, it was a rainy, dreary day. I opted for the cherry-dipped-cone flavor (yes, that’s right) and was pleasantly surprised when I received my simple, Styrofoam cup. A colorful message. “Be someone’s sunshine today.” Hand-written in Sharpie. So simple. So affordable. And so, SO effective. Because, as a millennial, can you guess what I did next? That’s right, I Instagrammed a picture. And you know what happened after that? I had about 5 different people ask me about it. And about a week later? Waite Fusion had at least 2 new customers.
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Not only that, but on a large chalkboard “Selfie Station” at Waite Fusion, they have written #WFShakeSelfie – encouraging people to take a selfie with their shake. And when you’ve got a cute message on it plus you get to humble-brag about being healthy, why wouldn’t you?!

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PLUS they’ve started to also use the cups as a way to message their customers – for example the below cup from my visit the other day. What a simple, affordable way to communicate with an already engaged audience. 

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  • Besides the delicious, healthy shakes and the fun, friendly atmosphere, you know what else keeps me coming back to Waite Fusion? Their rewards program. For every shake you buy, you get a point, and for everyone you refer to Waite Fusion, you get two points. Simple enough, but how is that unique from the million bajillion other places that offer rewards programs? Glad you asked. They use the FiveStars points program, which is tied to a mobile app. Every time you visit WF, you just scan your card at the counter, and the points you’ve earned are reflected in your app. Also, the app pushes out messages to users like “Try our new shake flavor!” or “Double-points today!” or things like that. It’s like an SMS program without being an annoying SMS program. And I love it.

What it (likely) Cost Them

I will preface this by saying I do not know if they worked with an agency/partner on strategy, so I can’t estimate that cost, but I will say that the efforts listed above are likely not over a $2,500 investment, at most. The coupons? Probably designed, printed and cut in house. The writing on cups? Um, what’s the going rate for a pack of Sharpies these days…? And the FiveStars program likely has a monthly fee that they pay to take part in, and is where the bulk of my estimate stems from. Oh, and the customer experience? That’s less about investing in marketing and more about investing in the right people to make it happen. So basically, priceless.

I am a loyal Waite Fusion customer. I do not do Herbalife in my own time, nor do I have an interest in starting, but I do love the product. And about once a week or so, I indulge in the product, because I love this company that is selling it. Using your resources wisely and engaging consumers intelligently pays off, and Waite Fusion is proof of that.

#EmilyFayeSays

Customer Experience: The Basics

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In case you haven’t heard me obsess about it before, I’m a Jay Baer/Convince & Convert addict. Jay and his team are the definition of social media pros. From content to digital media and everything in between, they are my go-to resource for any questions or curiosities I have in relation to social media, content, or PR.

One of Jay’s many content streams are his #JayToday videos, in which he spends 3 minutes chatting about a topic every weekday. I recently viewed this video by him, and it sparked some thoughts in me. Especially the quote, “If it requires 5 steps to do this today, how can we make it 4 steps. And then how can we make it 3.” That is the core of…

CUSTOMER Experience 

A great customer experience is essential in setting your company apart from the clutter. But before we get too far, let’s define “customer experience.”  To aid in this, a quote from the Harvard Business Review:

Companies have long emphasized touchpoints—the many critical moments when customers interact with the organization and its offerings on their way to purchase and after. But the narrow focus on maximizing satisfaction at those moments can create a distorted picture, suggesting that customers are happier with the company than they actually are. It also diverts attention from the bigger—and more important—picture: the customer’s end-to-end journey.

Customer experience is less about optimizing individual pain-points within a customer’s interaction with a brand and more about the overall journey. Hence,

Customer Journey Mapping

A customer journey map is literally a diagram that illustrates the various steps that your customers go through in engaging with your company. It can range from product to online to retail or anything in between – and it covers everything. The more complex your process is, the more difficult to create but important this tool will be.

Let’s think about an example of this in the banking industry, specifically at the process of signing up for a new checking account at a brand new bank. Where are some possible touchpoints in this process?

  • Performing online research on the bank
    • Comparing one bank’s website appearance to others
  • Navigating the website to find account information, locations, rates, contact info, etc
    • How easy is the site to navigate?
    • How many clicks?
    • *This comes back to User Experience
  • Sending an email to the bank
    • How long will they wait for a response?
    • Is an automated response sent?
    • Do they receive a phone call after sending an email?
  • Calling the bank
    • Who answers? (loan officer, receptionist, teller, etc.)
    • What is the process for transferring them to the right person?
  • Visiting the actual bank

The list could go on and on. Journey Mapping allows us to display all of the touchpoints with a consumer in one easy format, so that we can identify pain-points, perhaps like these:

  • The need to call to set up an account – can’t I just do it online?
  • The absence of a free checking account – what if I don’t want one with a minimum balance requirement?
  • Complexities in the website design (User Experience) is the website difficult to navigate?
  • If/when I do call the bank, how long am I on hold? Or what is the automated answering machine like to navigate? How much information do I have to give to whomever I’m speaking with?

It’s important to remember while doing customer journey mapping what the customer is likely feeling/thinking at each touchpoint.

So what does the customer journey map actually look like? Here’s a beautiful example from my company, Flint Group, that details the customer journey of filling up with gas:

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As you can see, this journey map takes into account Justin’s thought process, what he encounters throughout the experience, and how it affected him (ie. what the pain-points were). That’s not to say that every customer will go through this same experience, and that’s why it’s important to develop those audience personas, like Justin.

As you can see, customer journey mapping can unveil serious sticking points within your customer experience process, as well as highlight what you’re doing really well already. Try it out for your organization – and share what you discover!

#EmilyFayeSays