Part 1 of this two-part post addressed five factors:
- Customer Ecosystem Perspective
- Seamless Journey
Consumers have more choices than ever before. Recently I heard someone say that companies are no longer competing against traditional competitors, now they are competing against the expectations that are creating in other industries! Even if you are keeping pace with your competition, you still have to pay close attention to the larger ecosystem.
In this post, I want to address five more equally important factors.
New business models are being created; some radically alter traditional business models. Imagine applying for a home mortgage that promises little paperwork and faster approval. Faster as in minutes, not days.
You may not be able to retool your current business model, but remember, time is a precious commodity for your prospects and customers. Look for ways to remove friction from your processes; even small tweaks can yield significant results.
If people have already provided information, can I use it to help pre-fill other forms?
Conduct regular audits that challenge the need for the information you are requiring. Is it really necessary? How are you using it?
Differentiating customer experiences don’t occur in a vacuum; they occur in organizations committed to the best interests of all stakeholders. They typically have healthy cultures that foster engaged employees who are empowered to deal with challenges.
Feedback and alignment around core values are the fuel that powers healthy cultures.
Surveys indicate that customers want to deal with employees who know how to resolve their problems.
Companies that sustain differentiating customer experiences regularly keep track of employee satisfaction and happiness. They know that employees who are motivated and happy recommend their friends when appropriate.
Companies that clearly articulate their values and then hire associates aligned with those values often enjoy a competitive advantage.
The statistics on employee engagement are pretty dismal. Globally they are less than 20% of the workforce. In the US, the number is around 33%. Employees are looking for mastery, autonomy, and purpose. Companies with strong cultures know how to train, empower and tell their story in a way that ignites a shared mission and vision.
Studies show that simply and authentically offering praise on a regular basis can contribute to employee satisfaction and engagement.
In The Secret of a Successful Customer Experience addressed the connection between Maslow’s hierarchy and employee.
Story is the new currency of brand engagement. Smart brands know how to help by engaging employees and customers alike through the use of compelling narratives. Including all stakeholders helps ensure alignment in consistently delivering brand promises.
John Hancock has created a compelling set of stories with their life comes next campaign. Each story is tailored to a particular target audience. The television ad sets up the story then the viewer is directed to a microsite where they can choose different endings.
It’s unique engaging and compelling. Find ways to create stories that all stakeholders can relate to.
McKinsey has studied the buying process and through their research have identified a new approach to consumer behavior. Instead of collecting a number of options at the top of the buying funnel and then eliminating them, they discovered consumers actually add options as they progress through the buying cycle.
Consumers continue to evaluate the product or service after the purchase significantly influencing future brand purchase decisions. Companies that deliver differentiating customer experiences take full advantage of post-purchase opportunities to ensure consumers continue to have a good experience post purchase.
McKinsey also identified two types of loyalty, active and passive. While both might appear the same on the surface, active loyalty is the aspirational goal for all brands.
Continually find ways to make it easy for consumers to buy and use more of your product or service. Too often little or no marketing resources are applied to existing customers. Start by thanking customers for their business. Consider surprise and delight offerings to express your gratitude.
Monitor your social channels carefully. When consumers have positive things to say, acknowledge their comments appropriately.
Ask consumers about their preferences and then honor them. Provide helpful email communications that offer so much value consumers will complain if they don’t receive them.
Use segmentation to tailor content that helps the customer, don’t turn these into Sunday paper stuffers that focus on selling.
Word of Mouth
The best form of advertising is word of mouth advertising. Create a “wow” customer experience and customers will be inclined to tell others about it. In surveys consumers usually indicate their first reaction after a “wow” moment is to share it with their networks.
Focus on creating the “wow” experience rather than the word of mouth.
I love this Seth Godin quote:
Is the goal to get people to notice what we make?
Are we setting out to make something people choose to talk about?
Many organizations put a lot of effort into cajoling customers to share with their friends and family. Without the experience to share, these efforts often fail.
There are a lot of moving parts that have to come together to create a differentiating customer experience. It can feel overwhelming. It’s a never ending journey that requires agility and discipline.
The beauty of design thinking is its iterative nature. It works best with smaller incremental changes. Your product or service has to be competitive. Invite your employees and customers to join you in continually improving it.
Most importantly, DO SOMETHING!! Don’t allow the complexity or magnitude to paralyze.
What are some of the ways you are creating a differentiating customer experience?