This story is a version of a post published here.
At the cost of repetition, let me tell you that customer experience is the new marketing. I don’t say this, but Mr. Steve Cannon, the President and CEO of Mercedes-Benz, sure does! Cannon says that in today’s world of online social interaction, a good experience can spread to thousands of connections, and a negative experience can spread to much more than that. Basically, one negative review can negate the good reputation created by ten good reviews.
One of the most renowned business journals, Forbes magazine, says,
The future, the metaphorical keys to the kingdom, will belong to those brands that create the most awesome customer experiences.
If you are not sure of the experts’ views, here are a few reasons why your business should focus on building a product around the needs of the customer, and then go an extra mile to make the experience memorable (surely, in a good way).
Brand recall happens through experiences
We live in a world where everything has a rival to your business before you can say the word “copied”. I am even inclined to say that perfect competition exists only in economics textbooks today, and has no existence in the real world. In today’s cut-throat competition, your brand has to stand out in the minds of the consumer, it has to make a lasting and memorable experience. And that is what we call brand recall, in the pure marketing sense. Interestingly, this has less to do with your advertising and branding, and more to do with the customer experience these days!
Image Source: Flavio Martins, Business 2 Community
For instance, you have a furniture brand, and are a new player in the game. Pricing and promotion gets you your first customer, and he purchases a detachable wardrobe from you. Fast forward two hours – he tweets talking about how complicated putting together a wardrobe from your band is. Your customer, and countless other prospective customers, have started associating your brand with inconvenience. To counter such a situation, you could get a customer service representative to followup and assist him in setting up the wardrobe. Another could be to send links to help him put it up himself. Indeed solutions can be countless, but the point remains that the customer must be attended to immediately, or might I say, proactively. Because the experience he would share with your product will play a bigger role in marketing your brand than your ad campaigns.
Bad customer reviews will, for sure, spread fast
Customers have access to a medium that helps them voice their opinions in a jiffy – the Internet. And you know what they say – the Internet never forgets! We have said it before, and we will say it again – bad reviews spread on half the globe faster than wildfire! Needless to say, this can’t be a very pleasant scenario for your business. In one of my posts, I’ve disclosed the Dark arts of negative customer review, and how it can kill sales. I am sure everyone reads product reviews before making a purchase these days. Not only product reviews, people read about other people who are speaking at a conference, the hotel they are about to book for a holiday, the bus they are planning on taking to travel from one place to another, and even the Uber driver who’s about to pick them up from office. Customer review is a tool to compare customer experience, and, no matter how valuable a brand is or how much it is spending on marketing, a stream of negative customer reviews can kill the sales almost instantly!
Image Source: Myles Anderson, Search Engine Land
You need to reach out to people’s needs before the word gets around of “bad service”, which is only second to people not talking about you at all.
Customer Experience is the Game of Thrones for brands, both new and old
If new brands need to make their mark, the oldies need to match up their game. Once a king, would not mean forever a king! Perhaps one of the best example is that of Nokia and Blackberry losing their market almost overnight to the iPhone. In hindsight, one might argue that these companies refused to change with the needs of the consumers, and therefore lost their market to the ones who did. However, simply put, iPhone delivered a far better customer experience that beat the incumbents to the ground.
Image Source: Steve Jobs, Customer Guru
This is just one of the several examples of how a newcomer captured the market because it could conquer the customer’s heart. Despite having the marketing muscle, businesses, both old and new, need to focus on delivering exceptional customer experience above everything else. That’s the new power game and that’s the new way to gain a bigger share of the market!
Would love to hear your opinion and suggestions in comments below.