Five steps to creating a branded customer experience
You business excels at designing products, services and buildings, but designing an experience is new and unfamiliar territory.
The fact that there is now definitive correlation between the quality of a company’s customer experience and their stock performance should make it easier for companies to focus on delivering a great experience.
However, transforming your business from where it is today, to one that is based on the Customer Experience can seem like a large, daunting task.
To make it a smaller and less intimidating task, let’s look at five distinct elements of a sustainable unique customer experience.
It is impossible NOT to have a customer experience. The only question should be: Is it constructed or accidental? Accidental experiences are the norm. Consider as an example an employee at a store who is friendly and offers great personal attention, while their co-workers are rude and ignore you.
On the other hand, an experience that is constructed can be repeated, time after time. Harley Davidson, Starbucks, Nordstorm and Apple are companies that appear to design the experience first, and the way they deliver those experiences second.
The more characteristic or unique your experience is, the more you can become known for it. The Harley experience is uniquely Harley Davidson, and cannot be duplicated by a competitor. Uncovering this uniqueness can be a difficult process, especially if you are in a commodity market. However, for as long as your business is run by people, there will be something unique in the way you do things that you can exploit to your advantage.
A cohesive experience is one that delivers the experience that your consumers expect, no matter which part of your organization they interact with. Whether they see an ad, place an order, call your support desk, or return a product, their interaction is identical to your intended, constructed experience. Starbucks does this very well, with staff regularly remembering the specific beverages their customers order.
A cohesive experience is not born in your marketing department, and does not change based on the mood of your marketing agency.
Simply put; the more compelling your experience is to your target consumers, the more they will engage with your company over your competitors. Does the experience you offer solve a significant problem (whether real or imagined)? Is it affordable? Does it matter enough to enough people to drive your planned growth?
This is where it all comes together: Every time your customers interact with any member of your staff, the experience they get must be consistent. When the experience is consistent, every interaction then strengthens brand loyalty, and therefore the likelihood of brand advocacy. Every experience that is inconsistent with the expectation you have set through your messaging, detracts from it; therefore contributing to brand disconnection.