Part 1 – The Importance of “Customer Experience”
“Do what you do so well that they will want to see it again and bring their friends.” — Walt Disney
What is “Customer Experience”?
Customer Experience is a cumulative interaction of a consumer with a brand or company that sets the tone for any future dealings. While each consumer’s individual experience may vary due to personal nuances and variable perspectives, one thing that does remain stagnant is the inner-workings of any brand mindful of what elements go into the creation of that experience.
So you need to be asking yourself, what do my particular customers want to know and see from me? In order to answer this and achieve brand success with marketing, it is vital to master the notion of “customer experience.”
Customer experience is all about understanding how to craft a product or a message that speaks directly to what the customer needs at that juncture in time. It’s almost like holding a mirror up to a customer and taking a snapshot of what that particular person would want to see back in the mirror. Once a brand masters this devise, then they can essentially create customer experiences that hit a “home run”.
It’s almost scientific where every action has a reaction and customer experience is based on these same disciplines. Put the right events or messages in front of your customer and incite the personal experience that you want them to have. This concept is a testament to why Disney’s success has been a anomaly since inception, and continues to reach into the hearts of children and adults alike generation after generation. Walt Disney understood how to pull at the heart strings of its audience with characters that incited a special fervor in audiences- characters that you could not get out of your head and that adapt over time to accommodate the changing times!
Here’s a recap of how things have changed over time:
Historically, customers were given the “brand” first and then came the experience. That is the traditional “one-way” marketing of billboards, radio ads, TV ads, etc. However, this hit and miss approach has proved inconsistent in that often times, a company’s promise and intention does not resonate with its targeted audience. The main reason why being that the crafted experience fails to consider what the customer would want to see, feel and take in at that junction in time. This disconnect has newly paved the way for “engagement marketing” which does not “interrupt” to sell!
Take a closer look at Zappos the ultimate online shoe experience. Zappos, well known for there unique brand culture, makes it known that, “To WOW, you must differentiate yourself, which means doing something a little unconventional and innovative. You must do something that’s above and beyond what’s expected.” Now, the customers are allowed to feel the experience first, trust the message (build reputation), and then lastly accept the brand on their own accord and not be forced into accepting it. You need all of them to come together to have an impactful brand.
The tried and true method of traditional marketing will always be there as a fallback- somewhat of a black-hole in it’s abundance of how much cash it can drain. But, instead of constantly increasing budgets and capital to inject into traditional marketing schemes, you can look to the new approach of “delivering experiences” with engagement marketing. Given the high expectations of today’s consumers, a great customer experience can be everything…
According to Bernd Schmitt, in Customer Experience Management: A Revolutionary Approach to Connecting with Your Customers, the term ‘Customer Experience Management’ represents the discipline, methodology and/or process used to comprehensively manage a customer’s cross-channel exposure, interaction and transaction with a company, product, brand or service. Being able to craft the perfect customer experience requires an understanding of this quick checklist for helping you bring it all together:
Top 5 Checklist for the Ultimate Customer Experience
- Understanding the consumer needs and wants
- Designing experiences that address those customer desires
- Continuing the momentum of staying “in tune” with customer needs past initial point of contact or securing a sale
- Always seeking to excite and impress with something new
- Always striving to set yourself apart from the rest with a “pick-me” attitude
So what’s the takeaway you a ask? Customers will choose one product or brand over a competitor solely based on their emotional response to an experience and will often pay more for these brands that offer them this customized unique experience. So let’s take a case study of this concept as it relates to “coffee as an experience”. In his TED Talk, Joseph Pine discusses how coffee, as a commodity, can take on different values based on presentation.
In the graph below, we can see how the price of coffee offerings is greatly impacted by the manipulation of a coffee bean as a commodity into a full-fledged experience worth more than 5 times its original base value.
Pine relates how a simple coffee bean at it’s core is worth no more than “two or three cents per cup” and can go up to 15 cents if you “grind it, roast it, package it, put it on a grocery store shelf”.
Take it a step further, and actually “brew it for a customer, in a corner diner or a kiosk somewhere” it can take it up to a dollar per cup. Finally add the Wi-Fi, hip music and an overall soothing ambiance, then a $5 cup of latte is not that strange.
So now, you see the importance of a customer experience, and how people on the daily make trips to Starbucks for their $5 cup of joe, for something technically worth less than a nickel.
In parts 2 & 3 of this series, we will teach you about “engagement marketing” and how they play into emails that deliver experiences.
The Art of Engagement Marketing