The marketing world is quickly shifting from being predominantly company or product-centric to more customer-centric.
This essentially means that customers are often the reason behind how businesses are now structured. And as a result, marketing activities are no longer solely focused on the benefits of a company’s own products or services.
Instead, marketers are now expected to craft positive, collective experiences for customers – whenever and wherever they interact with the brand.
This transformation is happening because organizations are no longer vying for consumer attention for products and services with just their direct competitors. Instead, they are competing against the best experiences their customers have ever had – with any brand, even outside of their industry.
Consumers expect experiences to be seamless, integrated and as optimal as possible. Take a moment and think about the most exceptional customer experiences you’ve ever had. Maybe it’s the detailed customization offered by Starbucks, the enthusiastic service offered by Southwest or the seemingly endless variety offered by Amazon. As customers become more used to stellar interactions like these by major corporations, they have also started to expect them from every company. It is also important to note these great experiences are not exclusive to customer service – they’re integrated in each and every facet of the business, from the initial marketing materials to the product/service quality itself to the payment process and post-purchase support.
Further, consumers aren’t afraid to divert their loyalty or communicate on social channels if their experience isn’t optimal. In fact, they are even willing to pay for great experiences, too, as research suggests:
• 65% of consumers find a positive customer experience to be more influential than advertising
• 73% say that a positive experience is among the key drivers that influence their brand loyalties
• 16% potential ROI increase on the customer experience investments made
Through taking steps to improve the way they deliver experiences – such as shifting away from a product focus and toward a customer-first focus – marketers can efficiently create the well-rounded, positive experiences that consumers demand—and more importantly deliver the return on investment their organizations crave. For instance, according to a report by Forrester, on average, leaders in the area of customer experience realize a 25% increase in revenue over laggards.
While delivering positive customer experiences is crucial to success, it is not always an easy task. If your method to delivering customer experience is ad hoc and is not able to efficiently scale, it’s time to think differently if you want to remain competitive.
To do this, first determine what your ideal customer experience should look like. Ask your teams, how your company can support your future and current customers across every aspect of your business. Then, research and discover what your customers want and need the most – as well as any other problems they may experience in the future. Doing this will allow you to predict their preferences and issues ahead of time – meaning a smarter, more seamless experience for all customers. Finally, take that information and pack it into every action and decision your organization makes – from cold leads to conversion.
This method is called “reverse engineering,” which means taking your company’s customer experience process apart to better optimize it. It might require you to switch up the processes your organization uses to create customer experiences – so it is important to be patient with teams as they adjust. However, it serves as a valuable company-wide learning tool to help every team better understand the customers your business serves every day. Not to mention, it also allows you to produce new, successful customer experiences at a more efficient rate while using less resources.
For example, through shifting the focus of those experiences away from products and services, and instead toward consumers, customers will learn they come first – and therefore can trust your business. They will realize you understand their problems and desires, value their opinions, and can even anticipate their future needs – meaning they’ll look toward your company for guidance, no matter their stage in the buyer’s journey.
And perhaps most importantly – they will remember these positive experiences when it comes time to make a purchase. Better yet, they will be more likely to share these impressive experiences with their social circle, whether online or by word-of-mouth.
Additionally, shifting to a customer-centric focus can help ensure your business broadcasts holistic, unified brand messages – no matter the product, service, or channel that they are delivered through.
In this increasingly digital age, successful companies are those that are agile at their core – and can continuously evolve over time. These brands will be the ones that are sharp to understand always-changing customer behaviors and expectations, and can adopt processes for delivering innovative, exceptional experiences as a result.