Customer Experience

In the lifecycle of a relationship between brands and customers there are several stages, as most of you may already know. In an ideal world, the customer will progress along a path and keep on developing a relationship with the brand. Of course, that doesn’t always happen, but it helps to understand that this path exists and how you can nudge customers along by improving the customer experience.

  • Awareness:first the customer needs to become aware that you even exist and what it is that you offer. Traditionally, this was the role of a marketing or advertising team, but increasingly there are alternative methods that create awareness, such as viral videos or other social media activity and review sites such as Tripadvisor.
  • Purchase: making sure the process of buying your service or product is as customer centric as possible. Personalisation is key in today’s tech-driven age, as well as a friendly and efficient sales process.
  • Satisfaction:the product or service that you deliver needs to do the job. If customers are not satisfied, then they will never purchase from you again, and will use their networks to discourage others too. Simply not delivering a satisfactory service can have a very negative effect that extends beyond just one unhappy customer.
  • Loyalty:searching for services and products can be time-consuming. We all have our favourite brands for clothes or consumer electronics. Once a customer is satisfied with a brand and becomes loyal to them, then there are benefits – in saving time for the customer and a regular & loyal customer for the brand.
  • Advocacy:one step further on from loyalty is advocacy, this can be summarised as being a fan. Once the customer is not only satisfied, but actively loves the brand and advertises this to their friends, then they become an advocate. Good examples are the Apple fans that line up at midnight to buy new products or the Nike enthusiasts with ‘swoosh’ tattoos.

As this article in Hotel Industry magazine points out, brands can move beyond just satisfying their customers and creating both loyalty and advocacy by thinking more broadly about what customers are buying. In the hotel business, it may appear to be just a night in a hotel when seen as a service or transaction, but to the customer it may be the place they are staying for their honeymoon, or where they are staying after travelling from afar to attend a cup final football game. For the customer, they are buying a complete experience that they will remember forever.

By planning for customer interactions and a general experience that reflects this, many customers can be encouraged to not only be more loyal to the brand, they can become fans. This is possibly the best advertising for any brand / company because it’s almost impossible to buy. Our latest customer experience paper covers top stories on nurturing customer loyalty and how customer centricity can accelerate your commercial growth. Click here to read this week’s edition.

How can we motivate good customers to become brand promoters? If you have any suggestions, please leave a comment here or connect with me on LinkedIn.