No matter what line of business you’re in, keeping your customers purchasing your products and coming back for more is a primary concern for your company. Much ink has been spilled on what types of marketing strategies you should be employing to maximize your sales; new tactics come and go nearly constantly. One of the newest, focusing on customer experience, has been gaining in popularity and for a good reason: it works, and it works well.
But what is customer experience and why is it so effective? It’s clearly become the new theater of engagement when it comes to the battle for business supremacy — a new survey found that 89% of companies now look at customer experience as their primary competitive basis, up from 2010’s paltry 36%. But is this the real deal or just a flash in the pan? If you have questions about whether shifting your marketing efforts to maximize customer experience is going help your own bottom line, here’s what you need to know.
What Customer Experience Is
Customer experience, as a whole, encapsulates a number of different things that, as a whole, control how a customer experiences your brand. They include, but aren’t limited to, the following:
- Direct interactions with a brand: whether it’s being helped at a brick-and-mortar store, talking to a representative over the phone, or communicating through email or social media, how a brand interacts with a consumer is a major component of building the customer experience.
- Direct experiences with a product: customers want high-quality products that do what they say on the tin and then some, and they want them at prices that provide high value for money. Providing them such products contributes to positive customer experience.
- Indirect interactions and experiences: there’s no such thing as a private conversation anymore. With consumers sharing their experiences and interactions on social media, tales of brands that treat their customers with excellence — and those that do not — can spread like wildfire.
- Evidence of a brand’s social responsibilities: many consumers want to know the products they buy are made by brands that share their social consciousness. Whether it’s environmental conservation, paying employees a living wage, or any other issue, a brand that showcases their commitment to social causes builds positively on their consumer experience.
When these components come together in the right way. the customer experience a brand provides is thought to be positive. Positive customer experience, meanwhile, leads to more success for the brand.
How Much Success is More Success?
Customer experience takes a number of different marketing approaches and focuses them together through the lens of a customer-centric approach. The goal is to provide the kinds of experiences to your customers that leave them feeling positive about every interaction with not just your products but your company as a whole. Customer experience marketing, which concentrates heavily on authentic interactions between consumer and company in a myriad of ways, has turned out to be highly effective in increasing customer retention and satisfaction levels.
In fact, showing that your company is authentic in its regard for your consumers through positive engagement with them is a primary concern for nearly 8 out of every 10 consumers today. Retention rates for companies with strong omnichannel consumer engagement can run as high as 89 percent according to one survey, showing that consumers most certainly respond positively to this type of positive consumer experience. Considering how it can be six to seven times more expensive to attract a new customer versus retaining an existing one, consumer experience marketing can be a powerful tool in increasing the success of your business.
It Comes Down to Communication
Providing proper customer experience support might seem like a monumental task, especially since it involves a major pivot away from a more traditional consumer-centered business focus. However, providing positive customer experience primarily comes down to providing as many avenues of positive communication as possible between you and your consumers.
Modern interconnectivity has driven the shift to consumer experience like no other by increasing these avenues of communication. Social media, for example, has made it easier than ever for consumers to interact directly with a company — and to comment on a company’s actions, both positive and negative. These interactions, laid bare for anyone on the internet to see, have the potential for a much higher impact, not just on the individual consumer but on all who witness the exchange.
To Endure and Prevail
Today’s business landscape, while perhaps not bleak, still has its fair share of dangers for modern companies to avoid. Being successful in a modern business setting means competing with a rapidly expanding number of niche business providers that are all vying for the attention of an increasingly discerning consumer base, making it a challenge for even some of the most entrenched and well-established businesses to survive. The high-profile failure of industry leaders like Toys “R” Us is a testament to these difficulties.
Meanwhile, companies that position themselves as consumer-centric can and often do develop a highly dedicated base of consumers that can exhibit almost fanatical levels of brand loyalty. Even if their actual products may not contain features that always justify the price point of those products, brands like Apple create the kind of positive customer experience that leads to loyalty levels exceeding 90%.
These two examples on either end of the spectrum are highly illustrative of two things: that no company is safe in the current economy and how the power of consumer experience can be an incredibly potent motivating factor. In other words, focusing on customer experience is nearly a requirement for any business today, as it provides avenues to not just endure these turbulent times but to prevail against them.
Author: Benjamin Shepardson is the founder of a Blog Writing Service, a Key West-based content agency specializing in delivering personalized experiences. With an extensive digital career dating back to before social media and WordPress, Ben personally works with clients to craft a content strategy that will scale and grow their business. Follow him on Twitter at @nostop_content