Credit :marketinginsidergroup.com by Michael Brenner
- World Class Customer Experience
Every year is the year of the customer. We’re seeing a massive shift in beliefs about what marketing actually is. It’s no longer about trying to convince people to buy from or work with your company. Instead, the priority has moved towards providing fantastic customer experiences that will keep people coming back for more. In a sense, when you focus on building a positive business culture and providing great service, the marketing almost takes care of itself.
Not only are customers impatient, but they also want those fish tacos delivered on a silver platter.
Not literally, but they do expect a seamless experience from the first spark of interest to customer service after the sale. From personalized messaging that helps them solve problems to make a buying decision to a customer-focused culture throughout their customer journey, an experience that delivers quality across all channels is more likely to earn their business.
In addition to personalized marketing messages, find ways to listen and respond to their questions. Coordinate your digital marketing team with your sales and customer service teams to deliver quality throughout their experience.
The growth of online content has given consumers more power. They are no longer a passive party when it comes to learning about products. They’re not waiting for you to tell you how great your products are. Instead, they’re going out and doing their own research.
So you have to offer them something more than information. 73% of people say that customer experience is an important factor in their buying decisions, but currently only 49% of US consumers say that today’s companies provide a good experience.
What exactly makes a great CX? Efficiency, convenience, knowledgeable and friendly service, and easy payment options are what people value most in their customer experience. But aspects more traditionally considered as marketing’s domain are cited too: up-to-date technology, personalization, an easy mobile experience, brand image, and design all add up to the overall customer experience.
Building the kinds of relationships with customers that drive loyalty is worth every penny you spend. As the management experts at Bain and Company point out, a mere 5 percent boost in customer retention increases profit by 25 percent.
Can you imagine how your profits would soar if you went the extra mile to deliver the kinds of experiences that build not only loyalty, but qualified referrals as well? When you coordinate your digital marketing strategy with all your teams to deliver those kinds of experiences, you’ll grow your bottom line well beyond even your highest expectations.
In other words, you need to consider CX in every aspect of your marketing strategy. This is how you can provide a great experience in order to keep your customers and attract new ones.
In fact, as you go through this list, you’ll see that every trend is really just one factor of the overall customer experience.
- Employee Activation: A Giant Leap Beyond Engagement
If efficient and friendly service is the cornerstone of great customer experience, how do you ensure you’re providing this? The answer, of course, is in your employees. The previously mentioned research also found that 46% of consumers will abandon a brand if its employees are not knowledgeable, and bad employee attitude is the number one factor that stops individuals from doing business with a company.
Your employees are the human face of your brand, so concentrating on interactions between your employees and your customers should be a key part of your marketing strategy. When you’re turning the responsibility of creating a great customer service over to your employees, you need to make sure that they want your business to succeed as much as you do.
The key to this is building a solid foundation of employee engagement and taking steps to ensure every employee understands and is aligned with your brand mission and values.
You can’t expect your employees to care about your customers if they’re not happy at work and don’t really believe in what you’re doing as a business. So achieving a high level of employee engagement is the first and most important step in improving customer experiences.
Employee engagement requires you to make your workplace such an attractive place to work that your employees’ happiness will spill on over onto the customers. Indeed, a smile and an extra effort to please that comes from the heart is one of the most effective forms of marketing out there. In fact, companies that engage their employees outperform their peers by a factor of two.
However, that one giant leap for humankind – walking on the moon – is a piece of cake compared to convincing some companies to treat their employees like valuable colleagues instead of glorified house servants. Taking the next step – employee activation – requires you to treat your employees as your most treasured customers.
When you activate your employees, though, it’s marketing magic. Activation includes a wealth of tools to empower your employees to become walking billboards for your company, including:
Training that not only makes them more informed about your products, but also allows them to climb up the corporate ladder – imagine – you gotta love a company that trains you to qualify for a better job
Permission to post content on social media and elsewhere about your company’s culture, products, and services
Involvement in creating blog posts, videos, white papers, and other “official” marketing content, creating a platform on which they can showcase their expertise
Once your employees start sharing the love your company has shared with them, it will pay off. Not only will it pay off in good vibes, but it will also likely make a huge impact on your bottom line.
In fact, leads that your employees generate through social media marketing posts are seven times more likely to convert than leads you generate through other channels, according to Sociabble. In addition, content that they share will enjoy eight times more engagement than content that you share on your official brand channels.
With the explosion of smart speakers and voice search in recent years, you’d be forgiven for thinking that “readable” content is more important than visuals and design these days.
In fact, this couldn’t be further from the truth. While advancements in voice search are certainly influencing the way that we’ll create content now and in the future, you shouldn’t neglect visual content either.
Research has shown that people prefer visual content to plain text. You just have to look at the growth of image-focused platforms Pinterest and Instagram to see the proof of this.
- Personalization: Your Key to Their Heart
When a customer has two relatively equal products in front of her, and she needs to decide which one she’ll buy, my money’s on the brand that won her heart. One of the ways to engage your customers’ hearts as well as their heads is to personalize marketing to meet their needs.
For years, psychologists have taught us that people love to hear their name and see it in print. But today’s technology allows digital marketing teams to dig deep into the data to identify the things that keep customers up at night – and identify what messages will solve those problems and give them a good night’s sleep.
In the 2002 movie Minority Report, the character John Anderton, played by Tom Cruise, is bombarded by a series of personalized ads calling him by name as he walks through the city. This was obviously complete science fiction at the time, but not quite two decades later, reality has almost caught up with the marketing future of Stephen Spielberg’s imagination.
Today’s consumers are flooded with marketing messages from multiple channels to the point where they have started to tune them out. Traditional advertising is losing its effectiveness, so what’s the answer? Personalized marketing messages that forge a real connection between the brand and the target market. So, go way beyond the “Hi [Customer Name]” emails, “Don’t you want to make more money?” popups, or “Hey, come back here!” cheesy messages in the browser titles to find what makes your customers tick. Then, give them content that will win their hearts.
Again, a little effort will yield amazing results. In fact, 80% of consumers said that they’d be more likely to do business with a brand that provides a personalized experience, as per a survey by Epsilon.
Improvements in technology such as AI combined with increased data collection and insights from social media and other sources have made it possible and easy to hyper-personalize everything from content to design to product recommendations and everything in-between.