Differentiate Your Brand: Provide an Outstanding Customer Experience

Posted by Tom Smith on Mon, Feb, 03, 2014 @ 10:02 AM

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We are now in the age of the customer.

Companies no longer compete on product features.

Customer experience (#cx) leaders like Starbucks, Apple, Zappos and Disney have set new standards.

Consumers have more power than ever.

Your best opportunity to have a sustainable competitive advantage is to focus on the quality of every customer interaction.

You don't have to provide an outstanding customer experience every time but you do need to provide a consistently positive customer experience.

Customer satisfaction and experience scores have strong positive correlations with purchase, repurchase, revenue, profitability, shareholder value and likelihood to recommend. They have a strong negative correlation with likelihood to switch to a competitor.

Show your customers you, and your employees, are listening to them by engaging in a dialog with them online, via telephone and in person.

People like to do business with those they know, like and trust.

Get to know your customers and encourage your employees to do the same.

By doing so, you'll learn:

  • What they like
  • What they don't like
  • What makes you "different and better" in their eyes
  • How they define a satisfactory level of customer service
  • How they define an outstanding customer experience
  • Who they consider to be your competitors
  • What your competitors do well, and not so well
  • How you can improve your products
  • How you can improve your services
  • What problem you may be able to solve for them in the future
The more you know about your customer, and the more they get to know you, your employees and your company, the stronger the customer's emotional connection to you and your brand.
If your customers have a strong emotional connection to your brand, they want to see you be successful and are willing to help you be successsful if you ask.
You'll also be better able to deliver what they customer wants, when they want it and how they want it.
You'll be able to innovate your products and services and offer logical product extensions, up-sells and cross-sells. Your best prospects for a new product or service are your current customers.
You'll know what lingering questions they have and what they consider to be information of value. This enables you to make your communications to them much more relevant. Greater relevance = greater effectiveness.
Being easy and enjoyable to do business with are two attributes of a successful customer experience. Simplicity is key for consumers today. Anything you can do to make your customers' lives easier will improve their experience.
The better the experience, the more likely the customer is to share their experience with family, friends and colleagues. Referral marketing in the age of the internet and social media is more powerful than ever.
Deliver a consistently excellent customer experience or be prepared to lose your customers to those companies that do.
While there are several companies, as referenced above, raising the customer experience bar, most companies are still focused on their own products and services and monthly, or quarterly, revenue ahead of the customer.
Are you a customer experience leader in your space?
What do you need to do to differentiate your brand by providing a consistently excellent, and occasionally outstanding, customer experience?
If you put customer experience ahead of product/service and revenue, you can build a recurring revenue stream with satisfied customers who do a lot of your marketing for you.
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Sources: Forrester, North American Technographics, Watermark Consulting

Tags: outstanding customer experience, trust, dialog, customer satisfaction, customer centric, people do business with those they know like and t