Experience the Customer Experience
Customers have power. The power to make or break a brand. And considering that the world has become a hyperconnected place, customer experience is more important than ever. Marketers must face the challenge of the digital era and everything that comes with it, such as greater access to information and ever-increasing expectations. Thanks to social media and real-time interactive feedback, planning the ideal customer experiences will no longer be sufficient. Instead, building an ecosystem can help to nurture and support customer experiences on a full scale. So it is all about connecting more deeply with customers. But how can you do this? That’s the question!
What’s in a name?
Customer experience is not a new concept. However, its definition may have changed over time. So just to be clear, here is what we believe to be the right interpretation:
“Customer experience is the cumulative impact of multiple touchpoints over time, offline as well as online.”
It is not just about one moment, but the combination of all experiences through the customer journey. Based on these experiences, the customer (sub)consciously creates a perception of the brand. A positive customer experience results in a real, long-term relationship. And this is what a brand needs to stay ahead of its opponents in today’s highly competitive economy.
Customer experience IS important
Customers are bombarded on a daily basis with thousands of irrelevant messages, but they aren’t capable of absorbing and processing all of them. So there is a big chance that your message ends up in the clutter. Unless you can find a way to make your message outstanding and meaningful. And investing in customer experience helps to do both, because it is all about relevance: providing personalized information at the right time and place, which eventually leads to fulfilling a need a person is experiencing.
Social media and the Internet play a huge part in this. They allow customers to interact with a business, how they want and whenever they want. As mentioned before, it is not just about touchpoints anymore. A brand has to create an ecosystem that allows its customers to build a relationship through interaction. Big data and analytics can help to optimize these enriched experiences.
Not convinced yet? Customer experience is the way for a brand to differentiate itself from its opponents. It boosts sales from existing customers (because an engaged and pleased customer will spend more) and new sales by word of mouth. And last but not least, it improves customer loyalty through valued and memorable customer interactions.
3 tips to improve your customer experience
- Listen to your customers: Learn about what intrigues and engages your consumer. Give them an opportunity to talk and make the experience about them, so they can tell it to others. In this way you can engage your customers and stimulate loyalty.
- Be different and memorable: Make your experiences different than those of your opponents and highlight these strengths. If their customer experience is better than yours, customers will switch to participate in theirs.
- Be committed to your consumers: They are the reason you do what you do, so make sure you do everything to fulfil their needs.