Content is not king. The customer is.
Look around and you’ll see the signs everywhere.
Trust in brands has been plummeting for a decade, despite the fact they are all falling all over themselves to create helpful content for people. And to top it all off, even relatively “new” inbound marketing methods are losing effectiveness.
Thanks to technology, consumers have virtual blinders on. They block your ads, and they use fake email addresses in your forms. No matter what marketers try to do to seize control of the buying process, people will always find a way to beat them.
Customer experience marketing might be the last chance for brands to establish a real relationship with people, one that’s based on empowerment rather than influence. This type of marketing focuses not just on attracting qualified buyers, and more on the concept of earning a seat the table with people based on shared respect, values, and community.
You can’t escape politics in 2019.
It’s omnipresent in our lives, whether we like it or not, and the younger generations -- Millennials and Gen Z – are choosing to put their dollars where their values are.
Most companies would rather jam their fingers in their ears and pretend this is not happening, a sentiment that’s not hard to understand. No one wants to anger or alienate any segment of their customer base, which will surely happen when you go public with a position on any issue. But a lot of brands are taking the leap (or taking a knee, in the case of Nike).
If one were to judge these campaigns based on the social media backlash, this move would seem like a public relations nightmare. But when you look at the results, you'll find a different story.
When Proctor and Gamble’s laundry detergent brand, Ariel Matic, launched their “Dads #ShareTheLoad” campaign focusing on gender equality, Forbes reported it garnered a 42% increase in brand awareness and sales growth “in excess of previous campaigns.”
By actually living the values shared with their core customers -- and you have to make a meaningful impact if you want people to buy in -- these brands have created a deeper connection with people.
The biggest difference between customer experience marketing and all other types of marketing is it doesn’t end with lead generation.
Despite glaring evidence that profitability increases dramatically when businesses focus on customer retention, very few companies are putting any significant effort into it. In most cases, they are vastly overestimating the quality of the service service they provide.
In the eyes of many people, the customer experience starts to go downhill right after the sale! According to CX expert Joey Coleman, new customers decide whether or not to stick with a brand within the first 100 days of the relationship. In a B2B environment, that’s not a lot of time.
Here are just a few critical pieces to think about:
Client on-boarding – Do you have a well-defined on-boarding process that keeps your new customers informed about what your team is doing and what the next steps are? If you aren’t 100 percent confident you do, this is a good place to start.
Acclimation management – It’s easy to forget that your new customer likely has no clue what your processes are, or what expectations to have. This gap in understanding easily leads to anxiety and doubt, and things can easily snowball from there.
Sales to account manager handoff – What is the transition like when the sale is complete and your customer is assigned an account manager? To most people, it’s like starting all over again with a person who knows nothing about their challenges and business. When sales and account management work together with the customer for a period, you can smooth the process and give them confidence in the relationship with their AM.
So, your company is now committed to providing an amazing customer experience. Great! But how do you quantify that with cold, hard data?
There are some metrics you can use to gauge the relationship with your customer, however there is a limit to their usefulness.
The Deliver & Earn phase of the customer journey spans months or years after they have signed on to your solution. Your organization is now tasked with delivering what the customer has paid for, earning their continued business, and (with a lot of hard work) advocacy and referrals.
This stage is the hardest to achieve success in because it requires resources, tact, and focus. It's not enough just to deliver the promised solution. If you want to give people an excellent experience, you must anticipate and manage their needs before they even become aware of them. You need to find creative ways to accentuate the emotional highs that occur in your relationship together and earn quality referrals.
Some companies rely on Net Promoter Scores (NPS), and Customer Satisfaction (CSAT) scores to measure performance in these areas. They may have some value for validating insights you've already gotten in your research, but it's a really bad idea to shove surveys in your customer’s face every time they are on your website or bot.
I believe Retention rate and Customer Lifetime Value (CLV) are the best metrics for measuring your long term success. As for tracking short-term results, nothing beats a simple question when you are on the phone with a customer: “Tell me honestly, how are we doing?”
Take down every response verbatim, look for trending problems, and solve them while keeping affected customers in the loop. Demonstrating you are responsive to service issues, proactively anticipating customer challenges, and delighting people along the way is the best way to prove they've picked the right partner.
Customer experience is your true brand identity. It’s what people think and feel about your business. It is the process of removing our sole focus on lead generation and managing customer relationships in an entirely new, more profitable light.
We all love the thrill of bringing a new customer into the family. Wouldn’t you like to spend less on acquisition costs, and watch your revenue soar because customers never leave?