If your customers look back on the part of their lifetime when they used your products, will you be remembered?
Your decision to base your operating plan on your customers’ priorities rather than on your own earns you the right to customers’ continued business. By tapping into customers’ lives, you open a world of possibilities. You fuel the prosperity engine of your company.
To do so, however, you need to be able to answer the following.
- Do you know the moments in your customer’s life when they need you most?
- Do you dedicate any part of your experience to those moments?
- Will you be there?
Decision Intent: Get College Students Mobile
Zipcar was founded in 1999 to break the mold on car rentals by making cars accessible by the hour and by making that experience quirky and cool. With one foot in“cool” and one foot in “eco-friendly,” Zipcar has become a game changer. Gaining ground most rapidly with the under-35-year-old driver, Zipcar blends technology, community, and personality. Yale student Lisa calls it “a new cult of transportation.”
The need for wheels without the resources for owning a car has been a perennial dilemma of college students and young professionals. Zipcar wanted to provide the solution. And it wanted to do so in a way that appealed to waves of collegians and professionals reared on technology, increasing gas prices, and the power of community. The solution itself is game-changing—zip in and out of a parking spot near your dorm without going anywhere but the Internet to do the paperwork.
Motivation: College Students Are Early Adopters. Their Memories Pull Others In
Scott Griffith, Zipcar’s CEO, says, “We’re borrowing from Apple’s early days when it went after students to be its early adopters.”
Zipcar’s goal is to change the traditional rite of passage of buying a car when you graduate. Zipcar yearns to develop a relationship early, by offering cars to college kids who want to drive. So, available rental cars include Mini Coopers for fun and BMW 5-Series for looking like the success students aspire to be after college.
Zipcar’s goal is to connect with customers early in their car-driving experience and hold them close through adulthood. Playing to the college student’s desire for instant gratification, the Zipcar experience is a perfect fit. Griffith has said about the experience, “Getting a car is as easy as getting cash from an ATM.”
Impact: Zipster Fan Base Has Grown to 250,000 Members
Since 1999, “Zipster” members have grown to 250,000 passionate users and ambassadors. College students have taken to Zipcar, which has a presence now at 100 college and university campuses throughout North America and London, and an inventory of 5,500 self-service vehicles. More than a dozen metropolitan areas have taken to the idea.
In an experimental partnership with Starbucks, Zipcar urged people to live a “Low-Car Diet,” and to try them out. Some 58% percent of people who participated said they were hooked and would not go back to vehicle ownership. According to Zipcar COO Mark Norman, it is averaging 10,000 new customers a month.
‘Decide to Be There’ Challenge
So, what are you doing to improve the lives of your customers?
Here are a few questions to get you thinking about whether you’re memorable for providing what your customers need.
- How would you rate your intent and ability to make your experience memorable?
- How would your customers say you are doing?
- Do customers rave about how you improve their lives?
- Are you part of the story of their lives?
- How do your decisions to create a memorable experience compare with this beloved company?
- Do your decisions for dedicating part of your experience to the moments when customers need you earn you “beloved” status today?
Decide what you want your customers to remember about you and your experience with them.