Today’s marketing landscape is about selling experiences and guiding customers through their purchase decisions. Happy customers are loyal customers, and loyal customers bring business again and again. Online and in-store, it is critical to build experiences that help reduce friction in the sales process, making life easier for customers.
There are many tools that companies can use to effectively and efficiently cultivate customer experiences; however, it’s easy to get caught up in the tools and forget about the customer. Let’s first take a look at setting the foundation for keeping the customer in customer experience.
Understand your customers
A Bloomberg report said that “delivering a great customer experience is a top strategic objective” for companies. To do so, you need to understand customers’ perceptions, priorities and motivations. Many business leaders can be a proud and stubborn bunch, thinking they REALLY know their customers. But, let’s be real. Those business leaders have personal bias towards their customers, usually without realizing it. There is nothing more valuable than learning about what makes your customers tick than hearing it straight from them through objective market research. Then, you can build a customer experience platform that ties your company’s strengths to your customers’ priorities and concerns.
Think beyond the transaction
No matter the product or solution, purchase decisions are made rationally and emotionally. Create customer experiences that have meaningful substance to help people make informed decisions but do it with a style that generates excitement and advocacy for your brand.
Surround your customers
The traditional sales funnel is long gone, and customers are bouncing around discovering, educating and seeking information long before they initiate any contact. Online and offline, consider all the touch points you have available to create a meaningful interaction with your customer.
What gets measured gets done
This old adage holds true at every level of business. Measuring performance, satisfaction, sales and retention are all ways to create accountability and gain meaningful insight into your customer experiences. Leverage that data to set benchmarks and optimize against them to constantly improve.
With a solid foundation, here are a few of my favorite tools that enhance my customer experience with brands.
My phone is always with me, and I’m not alone in that it’s often the first thing I turn to when I have a question or a problem. Brands that readily arm me with information and support when I need win with me.
For me, live chat feels like it’s on its second wind, but I’ve long been a fan of the chat function. It’s quick, easy and puts me in control. I’ll go as far as saying that when done well, a live chat can be just as helpful and personal as an in-store engagement.
Social media support
Social media is where I, and most everyone else, go to share experiences with family, friends and acquaintances. I appreciate when brands are proactive in addressing issues through social or when they leverage the platforms to bring me information and offers that fit my lifestyle.
The human touch
I recognize tools that I find most favorable are digital, but it’s critical to not lose the human element. While I buy more from Amazon than brick and mortar, I still prefer the human element of an in-store experience. Even 25 years later, I get nostalgic every time I walk into a Best Buy, thinking about the times my friends and I rode our bikes to peruse thousands of CDs and play games. Apparently, I’m not alone.
An Accenture study reported that 83 percent of customer prefer human beings to digital channels when addressing service issues and 65 percent agree that in-store experiences provide the best personalized service. Companies that aim to be customer experience leaders must understand their customers’ preferences, be ready to help them wherever they are, and constantly improve while working hard to achieve the right balance of human and digital interactions. That’s exactly where an agency can provide a steadying hand and ensure your marketing is providing the most effective experience.