Customer experience is the new brand.
In fact, the race is on to own a customer experience that stands out from the competition, creates greater customer satisfaction and increases loyalty. Survey statistics bear out:
- Customer experience is important: 89% of companies compete primarily on the basis of customer experience
- There is a customer experience gap: 80% of businesses think they deliver “superior experiences, while only 8% of customers agree
- 60% of decision makers are willing to pay more for a better customer experience
What are you doing about your customer experience?
In today’s hypercompetitive marketplace customer experience is king.
Customer experience is the cumulative sum of every search, interaction, evaluation process, purchase decision, delivery and after-sale support that your customer encounters.
Customer experience is based largely on perception and emotion rather than empirical fact. For example studies have shown that 53% of a purchase decision is based on emotional aspects and “feelings.” If you’re thinking, “this has to be a B2C statistic,” think again—it describes B2B purchase behavior.
Do you have a customer experience? One that is truly differentiated and unique? Or, one that is truly sought after by the marketplace? Or, are you still relying on traditional brand, product and service to make the sale?
Make no mistake, skepticism rules the day. Information is distrusted and people are wary of promises made. Yet, it is information and promises that are so influential at the start of the marketing and sales process.
To turn skeptics into believers, consider the following:
1. Work backwards. Start with the customer to determine the customer experience you can and want to deliver. Drive product and services development, identity, marketing, sales and post-sale customer care to focus on meeting the customer experienced requirement—without fail.
2. Make the customer experience your brand. Stop building the brand on your expertise, skill, experience, product features or functions, services capability or support offering.
3. Align the business. Make the customer experience the main thing, aligning everything else as supporting cast members in the customer experience story.
4. Measure and improve. Customer experience is never “one and done.” Constantly measure effectiveness of target, messaging, offer, product and services delivery, interactions, search criteria, content and post-sale care. Oh, and do this in a near real-time manner.
5. Integrate everything. Ruthlessly eliminate “stovepipes” of information, process, communication, insight, value delivery and support. Each gap in the business is a gap in your customer experience.
6. Act as one. To the customer you’re one big team. Ensure that the customer experience is consistent from the first contact through to post-sale care and repurchase. Gaps lower trust which lowers belief, satisfaction and loyalty.
7. Streamline. Businesses often have more than one team to tackle an issue, often with their own unique process. This is confusing to the customer. Streamline internal processes and communications so that there are seamless, smooth interactions with your company no matter who their working with.
8. Show the customer you mean it. Have rigorous integrity and fidelity to your customer experience and customer(s). Stop being unpredictable by reacting to every new stimulus. Your customers want to experience predictable, sustainable experiences and not something different each time they connect with you.
9. Keep it real. It’s tempting to define a customer experience that you can’t deliver. Resist the temptation to do so. Instead define your customer experience within context of what you can actually deliver, thereby creating authenticity with your customer and markets.
10. Make it personal. Each buyer is an individual with specific needs, wants and requirements. Do business with them on their terms, addressing needs and wants, while exceeding experience expectations. This is especially true as emotion plays a greater than 50% influence on purchase decisions.
11. Market and sell the customer experience. The battlefield is no longer about marketing and selling the company, products or services—it’s the experience. Align marketing and sales effort to communicate, position and sell the entire customer experience in a manner that engages prospects and customers into relationships and revenue.
12. “Delight” your prospects and customers. Allow them to discover something positive that you haven’t told them about. Watch their satisfaction soar and recommendations increase.
What are some of the individual components of a customer experience?
- An optimized customer experience strategy
- Competitive insights, knowing their customer experience promise and performance
- Carefully understanding your targets and their unique personas
- Being the best at your customer experience, not your competitors or someone elses
- Having a memorable, honest, predictable customer experience-driven brand identity
- Building systems for fast response, adaptation and resolution of customer needs
- Eliminating hurdles that keep the customer from doing business with you
- Creating an associative “feeling” that prospects and customers can experience
- Making customer experience everyone’s responsibility
- Investing in the right people, skill, experience, tools, product, services and information to will enhance and accelerate your customer experience success
How can you get started turning skeptics into believers through better customer experiences?
If you don’t have a customer experience-driven business, let’s get started on identifying a process, key players, timelines and outcomes. We’ve worked with some of the largest companies in the world on their customer experience definition, strategy and delivery.
If you have a customer experience-driven business but it seems to be suffering, let’s do a quick-start evaluation of what needs to be done to reinvigorate, differentiate and take to market a customer experience that brings new opportunity, satisfaction and loyalty.
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Read another blog post on customer experience (CX) from the Afterburner Group.
The Afterburner Group has been building brands for companies in the technology, energy, services, manufacturing and non-profit industries for over 25 years.
If you think that your brand is suffering or could benefit from a brand assessment, validation and refresh, fill out the contact form below and we’ll let you know what that might look like and how you’d benefit.
Turn skeptics into believers.
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