Marketing trends come and go quickly, marketers are constantly seeking new creative ways to get their name and brand out in the community to engage, attract and retain customers. The latest trend talks about how to create a dynamic customer experience (CX).
What is Customer Experience? It is enhancing the person-to-person relationship. Recently I read a great article on Forbes.com about improving the customer experience, the article opened up with the old “Hello, Operator? I’d like to make a collect person-to-person call…” Superoffice.com defines customer experience as the interactions between a customer and an organization throughout their business relationship.
Do you remember those days when you dialed 411 for information and actually spoke to a real, living, breathing human being? Regardless of the marketing strategy and how much or how little money is put into marketing, the results of your success are built on person-to-person relationships. It is the relationships that are built that sells.
Megan Totka, the author of the Forbes article discusses ALL communication is person to person. In the article, she outlines ways to get rid of the typical impersonal group letter and focus more on understanding the individual’s needs, personalities, likes and dislikes of your consumers. Yes, this will take time. Relationship building is a skill and something that is difficult to assign a monetary value to.
The Consumer Experience (CX) is the biggest area for marketing opportunities. 86% of consumers will not purchase from a business that has negative online reviews. 73% of consumers say that positive reviews make them trust a local business more. And 60% of customers are willing to pay more money for a better experience.
We appreciate the shout out that ocreativedesign.com gives the local Chambers and how they eloquently said that the “Chamber of commerce is the gatekeeper to crucial local marketing opportunities and sponsorships to get your name out in positive public spaces.” The local chamber provides many networking opportunities and can introduce you to other members to help build that person-to-person relationship which will help you grow your business.
One business owner in entrepreneurship.org outlined how they were able to do person-to-person marketing on a budget. Their strategy including volunteering time and resources when they couldn’t spend dollars. They went on to say that by volunteering it allowed them to meet other people from other companies which helped spread the word and get them known within their community.
3 ways to Improve your Customer Experience
- Create a clear customer experience vision
This vision has to be shared with all employees. Along with the shared vision, employees need to be empowered to make decisions to do what they can to correct a mistake if there are customer complaints.
- Understand who your customers are
This is more than knowing your demographic area you are targeting. Understanding your customers is getting to know them personally, learning their names, likes, and dislikes. What are their strengths, where do they need help and when do they need to be pointed in the right direction?
- Create an emotional connection with your customers
This starts with remembering their names, but it also goes much deeper. Finding similar interests and likes, things you talk about that are not business-related. When we can connect on a personal/emotional level with customers they are more loyal.
For example, while conversing with one contact I learned that they have a family pet that ailing of old age. It means the world to the contact when I remember to ask how things are going with their four-legged friend. Likewise, I recently visited with another contact and I inquired about their family, and even remembered that in a previous conversation their basement was flooding so I asked if they have had any more issues with that. Remembering little things about their personal lives creates emotional connections and builds loyalty. The more you practice the better you become at remembering the details of people’s lives. The key is asking questions and listening.
Getting to know your consumer on an emotional level is 3x more likely to recommend you to others, and 3x more likely to re-purchase.
There is no substitute for the personal and emotional connections that can be made. In my experience, there are some people who are natural salespeople, others are natural leaders, when it comes to improving customer experience, I believe this is something everyone can learn. It starts by saying “hello” then asking a few questions and listening. Do not look at the time invested on cultivating these relationships as wasted time, the return on investment (ROI) from delivering a great customer experience will show in your bottom line, with loyal returning customers and new customers. Remember that the most powerful marketing tool is word-of-mouth marketing. By creating an exceptional customer experience will allow you to increase the positive word of mouth marketing.
Cheryl Viola, Executive Director