No matter what type of business you manage, your customers’ experience is an important part of marketing. More likely than not, the way they experience your product and/or service can actually make or break your marketing efforts to new buyers.
Just think about the last time you asked your co-worker, family, or even social media friends for a lunch spot recommendation or a product review before purchasing the latest tech gadget. You probably didn’t have to think too far back.
In fact, according to BrightLocal’s Local Consumer Review Survey, 85% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. Today, especially with the prevalence of online reviews and ratings, it’s more critical than ever to provide your customers with an exceptional experience.
Before we jump ahead, let’s back up and define customer experience. Customer experience is your customers’ perception of how your brand treats them. Your brand’s style and tone, communication methods, service and support, and even company culture, can affect customer behaviors. Simply put: if customers like your brand and continue to like you, they are going to continue to do business with you and recommend you to the others.
And there’s no real difference whether you’re a mom and pop shop or a Fortune 500 company; concentrating on customer experience to drive new revenue is crucial for success, especially in Hawaii where word-of-mouth is key. Here are 4 factors to focus on:
1. A positive customer experience increases retention and loyalty
Customer loyalty is important for business success. Even though most of us know this, the numbers may surprise even the most well-informed marketers. Did you know by increasing customer retention rates slightly, by just 5%, can actually increase profits by 25% to 95%? And if that’s not motivating enough, a study by Oracle found that 74% of senior business executives believe that customer experience impacts the willingness of a customer to be a loyal advocate for your brand. Typically, positive word-of-mouth results in a compound effect of new buyers.
2. Facilitating two-way conversations online and offline
Whether you’re interacting with your clients via social media or across the checkout counter, it’s important to listen and truly hear what they are saying. Be sure to take into account what type of feedback you’re getting and how you can shape your strategy to best accommodate your client’s wants and needs. For example, you can easily track Facebook posts and shares to see how and why customers are interacting with your brand. But you can additionally reach out to your customer base with simple surveys, emails, or website forms to gather more structured insight. The goal should always be the same: listen and take notes. Communicating with your customers, fans, and followers is the best way to optimize your customer experience strategy and continue generating positive word-of-mouth.
3. Predicting behavior by understanding your customer experience
By tracking trends — such as website and social analytics, purchasing cycles, referral sources — companies can start predicting behavior and be in the right place at the right time. Before scheduling your next email, find out if a certain customer segment is more likely to read email first thing in the morning or right before bed. If you know that your potential buyer is email-averse, don’t hesitate to pick up the phone. After all, ease of use and convenient content is preferred by people today.
4. Unlocking the ability to leverage personalized marketing
Personalized marketing today is more than using your customers’ names when you email them. It involves getting to know your buyer personas intimately and trusting the data you collect. And the relationship shouldn't end at the point of purchase — use personalized marketing initiatives throughout the customer journey as you engage with brand ambassadors who want to share your product and services. For example, if you segment your customer loyalty program by your buyer personas, you can continue to personalize campaigns, messaging, and incentives to the specific interests and motivations of each type of ambassador — whether your goal is repeat purchases or referral activity.
Across industries, improving customer experience is important in order to increase retention, satisfaction, and sales. Positive customer experience can easily foster a deeper commitment to your brand. So it’s no surprise that one-in-five marketers sees customer experience as the most exciting opportunity they’re pursuing this year. As you head into end of year planning and beyond, what steps can you take to improve your customers’ experience?