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Watch out 2016, there’s a hot new marketing topic in town: customer experience.
At first glance it may seem obvious – surely any business worth its salt has (positive) customer experience as its top priority. But over the past few years the relationship and dynamic between brand and consumer has shifted, as have expectations around customer experience.
One of the main reasons for this shift is, of course, technology. Technology has given a voice to consumers with social media the platform to amplify that voice, giving the consumer far more power and leaving brands far more exposed. Second, it has created far more consumer touch points making it harder to deliver a consistent customer experience. At the same time, the ability to create more personalized messaging has provided a way of building closer ties with consumers while putting pressure on brands to carry through on the promise of knowing the customer better.
As such, it really is time to rethink what customer experience means, as getting it right can lead to strong results.
As Gartner reported here at the end of January, McDonald’s may now be set on a road to recovery thanks to an enhanced customer experience. After posting a “5% increase in global same-store sales and the second quarter in a row of same-store sales growth in the U.S. after seven quarters of declines” the success was attributed not to some amazing viral video campaign, or changing hearts and minds on social media, but to listening to customers and giving them what they want. Enter all-day breakfasts, margarine replaced with butter and simplified menus for ease of ordering. It’s also worth noting that in McDonald’s case, customer experience extended to internal stakeholders as well. In this case, it is the employees, by increasing the hourly wage and adding some benefits. After all, employees are an essential part of the overall customer experience.
Here are ARTÉMIA’s tips for improving customer experience, whatever the industry.
Put yourself in your customer’s shoes. How do things look from the other side? This will help identify roadblocks and opportunities by providing authentic insights.
Innovation in marketing technology happens quickly and with it comes an almost inherent pressure to adopt everything to stay ahead of the curve. But this isn’t putting the consumer first. Consider the success of the British satirical magazine, Private Eye. A true outlier, it has minimal web presence but, with so many other publications struggling, the weekly magazine just celebrated its highest sales figures in 30 years – after consecutive years of growth. To paraphrase the editor, it was thanks to their magnificently innovative marketing campaign, “Buy one, get one!” Figure out what’s truly useful and what is just a distraction.
You don’t need to be an “Undercover Boss” to draw on the day-to-day experience of your employees. Customer-facing staff will know first-hand what irks customers and what stops them getting the job done well.
Why do you choose one airline, coffee shop or online retailer over another? When was the last time you made a complaint about customer service and why? Oftentimes, it’s about the details rather than the grand gestures that make a customer experience great.
As ever, for more information on how we can help you create stellar customer experiences, please get in touch.
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