Some terms in marketing lose meaning. Some of these phrases are just buzzwords that will fade in time and be replaced by a new marketing word of the day. Others however are important and shouldn’t be ignored because of overexposure, like popular songs that are overplayed on the radio.
Customer experience is the present and future of competitive advantage and you need to understand how to perfect it to make your business stand out.
What Does Customer Experience Really Mean?
Life is made up of multiple experiences. They shape who you are and influence your decisions. People remember good as well as bad experiences and will react based on the emotions the situations invokes. How does a customer feel when they see your ad on Facebook? How does he feel when he walks into your store? How does he feel when he walks out with his purchase in hand?
From the initial discovery of your brand to the eventual purchase is a journey that includes a myriad of experiences for your customer. If each of those experiences is positive, then you will earn a loyal repeat customer who will tout their love of your brand. If even one of those experiences is negative, then you will lose that person to your competitor and they will tell everyone they know about their bad encounter with your company.
In this pull economy where people can make an unknown brand famous overnight or destroy an established organization with a twitter campaign, businesses need to consider what emotions they invoke with their advertising, sales, and customer service processes. Every contact a person has with your organization needs to be carefully crafted to enhance the customer experience and move to the next step in the sales funnel.
Customer Experience Enhances Sustainability
Shifting your company’s focus from sales to the needs of the customer will improve profits and longevity. A Forrester Report (The Business Impact of Customer Experience, 2014) proved that by improving customer experience, you increase customer loyalty, purchase and word of mouth advertising. Their results showed that businesses with high customer experience indexes had higher customer retention, increased repeat business and more people who were likely to recommend the company to a friend.
There were some cautions to this success tale, however. One main caveat was that even companies that had a high customer experience index couldn’t be satisfied with their current performance. If the business didn’t strive to improve, customer satisfaction would begin to decline.
This reinforces the concept of an intelligent and demanding customer. Walker created a report – The Future of B-to-B Customer Experience – to show companies what customers are going to be like in the year 2020. This report shows that in five years, customers will expect your business to understand their individual preferences and companies needed an unrelenting focus on increasing the customer experience.
How to Improve Customer Experience
So how can your company enhance consumer interactions with your brand? Here are some tips:
- Create a Single Customer Profile: Think of the customer profile as one person and cater all of your strategies to their preferences
- Guided Selling Helps Customers Decide: Guided Selling helps customers make buying decisions, reduces returns and creates a personalized buying experience customers love.
- Increase Customer Rewards: Make sure you reward customers for recommending you, buying additional products and staying with you over the years.
- All Information Focuses on Experience: Use data analytics to find new ways to enhance your customer experience from additional services to store atmosphere.
A customer-centric strategy is the new business model for B2C companies. By thinking of your customer as an individual, personalizing the buying experience and showing your appreciation with rewards you will have a loyal customer base. Then you will have a prosperous business in 2020 and beyond.