Do you carry a weapon named effective branding in your business armory? If yes, then you must know it’s got ultimate potential, or else you might have a lot to lose. I mean, I have come across several reputable companies that have got a great product but do not last long because they don’t nail in the two significant aspects of branding and customer experience.
What comes to your mind when I speak about trust, loyalty, dependability, joy? Dogs, given if you aren’t afraid of them. Irrespective of their breed, dogs are pretty easy to love, and each breed is meant for a different purpose; for example, some of them are meant to show off such as Pomeranian, Shih Tzu, poodle, whereas others are loyal companions, for example, Labrador retriever, a beagle. Now I am sure you must be wondering what do dogs have to do with terms like brand or customer experience. Obviously, in the literal sense they have nothing to do but if you delve in the details you will find the breed is your brand and what you feel with the brand is your experience.
Your brand is something that you stand for in the market, and it sets customer expectations for interactions with your firm whereas customer experience is something which is defined as how customers perceive their interactions with your brand. For example- if your brand “stands for” simplicity and flexibility, then that’s what customers expect from their interactions–whether in-store, online or over the phone. If your customer experience is unable to deliver on that promise, then you have a problem.
How Brand Experience and Customer Experience Work Together?
Your brand and customer experience is more like a rare combination of chocolate and peanut butter. No organization can function without either of them. Experienced gained from your brand won’t matter unless you don’t provide a seamless experience to support and serve customers. Additionally, without proper branding and marketing, it becomes pretty unlikely for your business to have customers to deliver a strong customer experience. For instance, Walmart was one hell of a company which invited customers to text and sign-up for its new grocery pickup service and receive $10 off their first order. Which means in order to enjoy the luxury of a grocery pickup, they first had to sign-up, and in order to drive sign-ups, a $10 discount was included in the offer.
Now have you ever wondered why customers neglect a specific set of services offered by businesses? It’s because they are ignoring the brand experience, leaving little to nothing to be desired. The moral of the post is don’t leave customer experience out in the cold, captivate them with your brand and then offer plenty of guidance and support.
Best Practices to Kill Two Birds with One Arrow!
Now, do you really think in today’s realm, great customer experience is somewhat fixing a system or handing out huge discounts? Probably not! It’s way beyond leaving people with a good feeling about your business. Down below, I would like to get you acquainted with specific points worthy of you.
#1. Your Employees are your first customers
Great charity begins at home similarly great customer service and experience begins within your space; target your employees for starters. If your employees are happy, they will eventually make your customers happy. For that matter, Southwest Airlines has been consistently ranked as one of the best places to work as they built a work culture of putting their employees first. The company has a team-based environment where people can have fun and inclusive with core values that remind their employees to enjoy their work. This, on the contrary, motivates them to take pride in the work they do, which often leads to long-lasting customer service experiences. One of the best examples set by the company was; a man booked a last-minute flight to Denver in order see his three-year-old grandson one last time. Due to heavy traffic, he arrived at the airport 12 minutes after the plane was scheduled to leave, but the pilot had specifically waited for him before taking off. Quite Touching!
Go an extra mile to claim your destiny! And your destiny will reduce an extra mile for you.
#2. Emotions do matter
I am sure you must have heard an ample of stories. Do you remember them all? No! There is only a handful: why? Similarly, there is so much content out there vying for our attention then why some stories seem random while some stick in our minds? I will provide you a few reasons to take into account:
- The story relates to something personal in our lives
- It has both conflict and resolution
- You found someone (or something) to root for
Perhaps the most memorable ones are the ones which succeed in creating an emotional connect. Let’s say for example- Zappos, the online shoe store encountered a situation where one of their customers was late returning a pair of shoes due to sudden death in the family. So the company went out of their way to take care of the return shipping and arranged a courier to pick up the shoes at no cost. They also sent the customer a bouquet and a note offering their condolences.
At first, you need to listen to your customers carefully. This shows that you do care and also be able to uncover their needs, challenges, and pain points. Also, use tools like Hootsuite, Twitter hashtags, or SocialMention.com to monitor conversations people are having about your brand.
#3. Get real (time) about feedback
Which is the best way to capture customer feedback? It’s the time right after they receive the product. Such post-interaction surveys can be easily conducted through programmed tools such as email or phone calls. Say, for example, Starbucks often sends an email survey to their customers immediately after a store visit. In addition to this, don’t forget to link excellent customer feedback to specific customer support teams, as recognizing their contributions helps demonstrate what quality service looks like to other employees.
#4. Give social listening a thought
One of the best tools to enhance customer experience is social listening. And it’s pretty much in vogue irrespective of the industry across the globe these days. Imagine you will be able to create wonderful customer experiences just by listening on social media. For instance, Tommee Tippee cups is a company that came across a father who needed replacement of a limited edition Tommee Tippee sippy cup for his son, Ben Carter, who has severe autism. And these sippy cups were the only cups Ben would drink from. So the father came up with #cupsforben. And the tweet went so viral garnering hundreds of thousands of retweets, likes, and shoutouts. Due to which the company decided to create a limited run of 500 of the discontinued cups, especially for Ben.
So, thoughtful isn’t it!
With the help of effective tools like Hootsuite, Quora, Reddit, SocialMention.com, or just simply searching with hashtags, brand terms, or relevant keywords, you can conduct social listening activities at its best.
#5. Use AI
Data is at paramount, companies generating tons and tons of data find it very crucial to store. Disruptive technologies such as Artificial Intelligence, Machine learning can aid in gathering customer intelligence without even lifting a finger. To use it, customers simply text “Insomnobot3000” from their mobile phones and talk about whatever is on their mind, and it will have a real conversation with you.
Companies like Casper, Netflix are seen making the most of such technologies. Casper collects mobile numbers and ends insomniacs promotional offers and discounts for their comfy mattresses whereas Netflix uses predictive analysis to provide show recommendations to their subscribers, and Google, who use AI to help redirect drivers around traffic jams.
Over to you
In this age of digital transformation, the attention span of your audience is narrowing down gradually. Re-shaping your brand and customer experience is the only way out to stay ahead of the curve. Remember that at the heart of all this is your customer. It’s not about the experience you want to create; it’s about the experience they want to have.
Define your values and then work on creating emotional and personal connections with your customers via your content and your interactions.
About the Author!
Dave Jarvis is working as a Business Development Executive at eTatvaSoft.com, an enterprise-level mobile & web application development company. He aims to sharpen his analytical skills, deepening his data understanding and broaden his business knowledge in these years of his career. Follow him on Twitter.