Why Customer Experience Should Be Your Focus in 2018

Editor’s Note: We’re excited to welcome Dan Ridge as a contributor to the CCC blog!

The customer is always right has long been a business adage. In today’s highly competitive environment, it’s more than just selling products to customers; it’s about providing them with a seamless and enjoyable experience throughout the time they’re in touch with your business.

Why Customer Experience Should Be Your Focus in 2018

Whether they’re looking at your website, talking to a sales rep, or reading one of your brochures, the customer should gain value and insight from their experience of dealing with your business, which is why everyone is talking about customer experience.

Good customer experience has a huge role to play in whether a customer buys from you and can be the key decision-making factor. I interviewed Rory at Promotions Warehouse and asked for his view on why customer experience should be your focus for 2018.

A good experience increases overall customer satisfaction

Research has shown that providing a consistent approach to customers throughout their customer journey with your business can increase customer satisfaction by around 20%. If every touch point the customer has with you from initial contact to purchase to post-sales communication is consistent and positive, that customer will be far happier than one who bought your product, but experienced poor service while doing so.

A good experience means customers are more likely to come back

It’s far less expensive for businesses to carry out repeat business with loyal customers than to constantly attract new customers all the time. Enjoying a great customer experience is a very good way to ensure customer loyalty to your brand. If they have a positive experience dealing with you, they’re more likely to come back again and again. Customer experience is what will make you stand out from your competitors and adds value to your customers, so they won’t want to risk switching their business elsewhere.

Customers who are happy will spread the word

If your customers have a good experience, they’re more likely to spread the word among their friends and colleagues, which can lead to an increase in referrals.

They’re also more likely to write favorable reviews on your website and to praise you in online forums or groups on social media. All this free word of mouth publicity can only enhance your business reputation and spread your name to other potential customers who might not otherwise have heard of your business.

“Good customer experience is more than just selling customers a product they need at the right price; it’s about providing them with consistent communication, tailored messaging and information which is valuable and interesting to them.”

Good customer experience is your key differential

Unless your product or service is completely unique, you have some competition out there in the marketplace. With others offering the same product, the only differential for customers is their experience buying from your business.

Offering superior customer service compared with your competitors is a clear way to make your brand stand out and help your customers with their decision-making process. It’s also a better long-term strategy than trying to beat competitors solely on price.

Happy customers spend more money

Customers who enjoy the experience of working with you or dealing with your business are far more likely to spend more money with you. Research has shown that customers who enjoy good customer service are 70% more likely to spend more money with a business than those who have experienced an adequate level of service.

They’re not just more likely to become loyal and repeat customers but also customers who spend more each time they use your products or services. This is one of the biggest reasons why customer experience should be your focus for this year if you want to grow your business.

Building long-term customer relationships

If you can create a great customer experience, you’ll be able to build a long-term relationship with your customers, keeping them coming back repeatedly.

In today’s consumer society, customers are bombarded with messages and marketing material at every turn. Creating consistent personalized, tailored customer communications will help your brand break through the noise and stand out in their minds.

If customers look forward to your emails/mailers/catalogues/offers because they know they’ll be relevant and interesting, you’ll be able to build lasting relationships with them to help create a sustainable business.

Good customer experience is more than just selling customers a product they need at the right price; it’s about providing them with consistent communication, tailored messaging and information which is valuable and interesting to them. Customers need to have a great experience at every single touch point with your company, from the first ad they see to when they walk through the doors. If that happens, your business will benefit.

Weigh In on Customer Experience

How does your company offer a good customer experience?
What companies provide you with an enjoyable customer experience?
What other benefits do a quality customer experience deliver?

Dan Ridge is a freelance writer specializing in marketing and small business.

 

Content Marketing: A Crucial Component of the Customer Experience

A stat from a recent article on content marketing caught our eye.

“Consumers engage with 11.4 pieces of content on average prior to making a purchase.”

pexels-photo-296878

In the B2B world, buying journeys tend to run longer anyway, but consumers (B2B and B2C) are doing their homework these days. Studies show that 70-80% of people research a company online before visiting the small business or making a purchase with them.

Whether it’s leftover angst from the Great Recession or the availability of information today, it’s precisely why content marketing is so important.

Here’s a real-life example:

Recently, I stayed over in Park City, Utah, for a day after working a client’s conference in nearby Salt Lake City. On a whim, I decided to get a massage after spending the previous four days pounding convention center floors. I pulled up local spas on my phone, checking their hours, availability and services. Not surprisingly, I contacted the spas who had this information available online — not ones I had to call just to see if they were open. And the spas who had additional content available — more in-depth descriptions of their services, photos of their facility, online real-time availability, etc. — moved to the top of my list.

What does this have to do with content marketing? The information I sought was quality content created by (or for) these spas: descriptive services pages with quality photos, blog articles on the benefits of one type of massage over another, recommendations on how to maximize your spa-going experience. This is what consumers are looking for today before making a purchase or even contacting your company.

While I didn’t end up getting a massage, I did manage to take a break from technology and enjoy the magic of Park City. But not before I utilized even more content — a visitor’s guide from my condo, Park City Transit’s website — to plan my stress-free day.

We’re all consumers at some point, so don’t forget about your experiences as a customer when you put on your marketing hat. These experiences are valuable and can make us better marketing professionals, if we choose to use them.

Reader Feedback

How have you used content marketing to learn more about a business or make a purchase?

How do you use your experiences as a customer to become a better marketing professional?

What types of content do you prefer when researching a company or purchase?

A professional customer and marketing professional,
Jaime

 

Let’s chat (about content marketing, customer experiences or otherwise):
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Is Your Business Like Cheers?

Recently I’ve watched a few episodes of the classic show, Cheers (thank you, Netflix!), and remembered why I always enjoyed hanging out with the gang at the friendly bar in Boston. The show’s tagline, Where Everybody Knows Your Name, says it all.

Cheers logo

Cheers — Where Everybody Knows Your Name

The characters came across as regular people who you would love to discuss current events with over a beer (and by current events, I mean last night’s game or Sam’s love life). They made everybody feel welcome, whether you were a local or out of towner passing through. (OK, unless you were a rowdy New York fan.)

The point is, people wanted to come there because they felt welcome and accepted. I’m sure there were other bars they could have ventured to (even Norm), but Cheers is where they chose to spend their time — and money.

Does your business leave customers and prospects with a warm feeling? Do you have regulars (repeat customers) that you know inside and out and always try to add a little extra touch for?

Do it amazing, says Sir Richard

What’s the most amazing way to treat your customers, especially regulars?

I was always amazed when the general manager at the Panera Bread near my former company’s office would already be making my order when I got to the counter — whether it was a caramel latte in the morning or a cup of creamy broccoli cheddar soup (and possibly another latte if I needed a boost) for lunch. She always left me with a smile on my face. True story: I met some former colleagues there for lunch a year after I left the company to start my business and had not returned to this location. As I was ordering, the general manager walked up, greeted me by name and asked how I was doing.

Why did I choose to return there time after time? There were other places I could get espresso or soup, but I felt a connection to the company and this location — all because a general manager provided excellent service and remembered my name.

I see the same type of service (and smiles) at my local Starbucks and enjoy the atmosphere at a local coffee shop that’s really established itself as a part of the community.

rafting the Green Valley Ranch in Las Vegas

Yes, I have an espresso problem. I even take it rafting.

Are you noticing a theme? I tend to give my business to companies that provide excellent service, make me smile and remember my name. Are you nodding in agreement (or just nodding off)? Notice that I didn’t say anything about the cheapest price. Yes, I want to see value for my dollar, but that doesn’t translate to cheap. And I’ll take a wonderful experience over cheap any day.

So how can your business be that place where Everybody Knows Your Name?

  1. Establish a ‘frequent shopper’ program. If that’s not exactly applicable, reward repeat customers in other ways. At CCC, we discount our services on program business (i.e. repeat business/multiple services purchased together).
  2. Say thank you — on each order, payment, quote/opportunity, referral, helpful advice, etc. A Starbucks or iTunes card is an appreciated token of appreciation for referrals or loyal customers as is your expertise. We’ve been known to help out a loyal customer with his LinkedIn profile or offer complimentary suggestions on improving a fellow company’s online marketing efforts. But trust me, even saying the words thank you is noticed — and appreciated — in today’s rushed and flustered world.
  3. Communicate clearly. So much of our communication is digital today; emailing, texting, tweeting or messaging is convenient. At CCC, we like to communicate how our customers prefer, whether that’s Skype, Facebook or a good old-fashioned phone call. Also, make sure you’re on the same page about a project, including any applicable deadlines. Nothing’s messier than miscommunication; it causes stress all around, puts people in bad positions and costs both parties time and money.

Check out: Seth Godin on Miscommunication

What did I miss?

How do you make your loyal customers feel special?

Put a smile on everyone’s face?

Photos courtesy of Brad via Sitcoms Online and Richard Branson’s blog

Cheers (or a toast),
Jaime

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