There’s all this talk about designing business and brand strategies around the “customer experience”. But what does that mean? Why is it important? And how do you cater for it?
Ultimately, you’re about finding business and making a profit. But the consumer process isn’t as statistical as that, it’s a lot more emotional. Take yourself into your own customer experiences. You’re always looking for that extra little bit of quality service and attention, aren’t you? Well, so are your customers.
What it is
The customer experience includes every interaction they, as a consumer, have with you, the brand, and how they feel before, during and after said interactions. The customer experience determines whether you end up celebrating a conversion at the end of the day, or sit around wondering why it never happened. So, you could say it’s relatively important. Like, really important.
Areas of the customer experience include your accessibility to clients via communication channels, the fluidity of purchasing and service processes, individualisation in interaction, convenience, and simplicity of the overall experience. And it relates to every product or service business out there. From selling organic vegetables to conducting private car sales. If a customer is involved, you need to think about their experience with your brand.
How to do it
Customer service is the name of the game and you need to be as open and available to your customers as possible. This means omnichannel support. And omnichannel support means all your contact and communication channels are open and available under one roof to provide customer support whenever it is needed. Mobile, live chats on the website, self-service and social media support are all necessary for servicing the customer experience.
But you also need to do your research. It’s a lot harder to try and provide customer support when you don’t know your audience, than when you do. Combine your customer’s information and consumer behaviour with their honest feedback (which you should be open to and respond appropriately to). This will create the link to how: who your consumers are and how they experience interacting with your brand, affects their behaviour. And from here you can amend your customer experience strategy (yes, you should have one).
There are technologies out there that you can integrate into the areas of the customer experience to make it even better. Virtual reality, artificial intelligence and programmatic advertising are a few of the technologies that make brand interaction easier and more enjoyable for the consumer. But, in the end, it comes down to having an amazing customer service team.
The ultimate way to achieve a “perfect” customer experience is to make your brand part of a lifestyle. It’s all about personalising the process and making them feel like part of the brand.
Harley Davidson has brilliantly managed to achieve this through creating a culture and lifestyle as opposed to just a motorbike. It plays on a customer’s emotional connection to merely being associated with the brand. Pretty smart move.
Why you should do it
The dynamics of being a customer has changed along with technology… and they’re smarter now. With everything at the will of their fingertips, retail and ecommerce businesses have needed to up their game and learn to accommodate the “now” generation. It’s all about convenience and seamless transactions across different platforms. You don’t want to get left behind or forgotten along the way because you aren’t up to date with what customers want (other than your product).
Customers are buying into experience and value without worrying too much about cost. This is your chance to offer them something that will make their lives better. And through a memorable customer experience, you build strong customer relationships.
What it will do for you
Investing time and money into a customer experience strategy will pay out in the end. Having created those strong relationships you are likely to gain customer loyalty and receive great recommendations and personal promotions from those customers. Brand loyalty is extremely valuable to every business.
If your customer experience efforts are successful, then it makes focussed department strategies more detailed and attainable. Knowing exactly how to better their experience and cater for their experience defines many of the question marks related to “what more can we do?”.