Recall a time when you had a great experience with a brand from start to finish. What made that experience unique? If we had to guess, it had something to do with an easy experience that went above and beyond expectations. Every interaction a consumer has with your brand becomes an opportunity to forge relationships that nurture brand loyalty. This journey is otherwise known as the Customer Experience – CX for short.
Commonly, brands prioritize evaluating the journey from the customer’s point of view: what the consumer needs, does, thinks and feels at each stage. This is a critical first step in building experiences customers love, but CX optimization doesn’t end there. Assessing the people, processes and systems involved in bringing the journey to life is also vital to a balanced, holistic CX approach.
Designing encounters that are seamless and repeatable will look different for every brand. Too often, brands carve up each step of the consumer journey into discrete pieces, which can create a disjointed and unsatisfying experience. Considering CX as an ecosystem allows brands to bring together separate interactions and create building blocks crucial to fostering brand loyalty. Particularly in a digital-first world, customers expect their buying journey—from awareness and conversion to their ongoing experience with the product or service – to form one cohesive experience.
Research validates that a well-crafted experience pays off. VMLY&R’s BrandAsset® Valuator research has found that a good customer experience lifts brand differentiation by 26%, esteem by 89% and trust by 58%. This ladders up to both increased pricing power – lifting measures of value by 56% – and increased willingness of customers to recommend the brand by 379%.
Our experts have compiled a few strategies to enhance an overall satisfying CX for your brand.
1.) Make it a part of your brand philosophy.
Traditionally, “branding” has been thought of as a storytelling tactic to get prospects into the funnel and guide them through exploring their needs and evaluating brands that can meet those needs. In many cases, this was seen as a separate function from the creation and delivery of the product or service that the marketing activities promote.
In a digitally-centric landscape, however, these functions are no longer able to exist apart from each other.
Consumers, now more than ever, spend with companies whose stories align with their actions. They expect companies to do what they say they will do – and will quickly find out online if they don’t. At every interaction, we teach consumers what to think about our brand through the experiences they have, and we want each experience to speak for itself, in all the best ways. By centering your brand philosophy around the CX and crafting a journey that is sincere at every phase, each experience can stand alone and leave a lasting impression. Make sure it’s one that aligns with your brand promises, from start to finish.
2.) Make it cohesive.
Having a CX that is agile and intuitive can be the defining factor that sways a consumer your way instead of to your competitors. Customers’ expectations about what your brand delivers are accumulated over time and based on many types of interactions. Was their experience online great but the in-person exchange was lacking? This juxtaposition could disrupt their inclination to continue patronizing your brand. Simple, convenient interactions that fit together, both in person and online, are key for any CX strategy.
Take for example the ease of having a digital element in a physical world. Restaurants with QR codes have employed a digital-centric tactic and refined it into a convenient enhancement for an in-person experience – an adaptation born out of pandemic necessity as well as requests from audiences who prefer the convenience of ordering and paying right from their digital wallet.
Fostering a seamless CX requires an adaptable framework – one that can evolve and be sustained. By using tools like social listening or feedback loops, brands can keep a pulse on fragmentation of the user experience in real time. Armed with the knowledge of what’s working and what’s not, brands can pinpoint and focus on parts of the ecosystem that require more attention to strengthen the execution of one united journey.
3.) Make it memorable.
There is this secret power to showing up meaningfully along the consumer’s journey: the balance of the familiar and unexpected. To make a lasting impression that sticks with consumers, the experience must go beyond expectations AND be memorable.
Neuromarketing tactics can be used to move a consumer to action by taking messaging to the next level and fusing that message to an existing memory to create a new association. Adding novelty to your communications and experiences offered can be a fun way to meet consumers along the CX journey. By remembering your brand, consumers can expect the comfort desired through their experience with something refreshing that deviates from other encounters they’ve had in the past.
4.) Make it repeatable.
If brands construct an experience that is easy, memorable and rooted in a philosophy that creates one coordinated journey – consumers will want to repeat it again and again. Understanding how people feel about what you’re offering and why is fundamental to evaluating and building a relationship, so revisiting this part of their journey can enhance your CX strategy.
Road mapping what engaged your customer in the first place can inform and sustain changes to the CX framework that will exceed expectations – as well as initiating a loyalty loop for your brand. Tailoring interactions for returning customers, such as offering options to save on a favorite product or incentives for a service they’ve previously used, can also feed this loop.
Interested in building a better CX? Hiebing can help. Email Nate Tredinnick at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a call.