Providing the optimum Customer Experience (CX) requires a look at the entire ecosystem that you have in place (or not in place) to secure a gratified, long-term patron. Engaging a customer-first mindset versus a competitor-comparison approach is key.
There are three main components to the CX Ecosystem, and these components are interconnected, working as finally tuned cogs to nourish the Customer Experience.
1. Perception of the Brand
2. The Duration of the Customer Connection
3. The Interchange of the Customer Touch Points
Perception of the Brand
Quite often the company Brand is given the vital attention in the beginning of the development, but often that heed regrettably dwindles and Brand Management doesn’t get visited and employed on a regular basis. (Brand needs to be considered as a live entity, read my post of Refresh Your Brand) This classic mistake leads to underutilizing your Brand to develop the relationship with your current and future patrons. Your Brand is the silent workhorse to keep things in motion, keep things fresh, keep the conversation going.
By linking your Brand into the Customer Experience (CX) you begin to utilize your brand in a more expansive way by aligning your company characteristics and persona to the Customer Experience. Examples of your brand’s essence and values integrating into the CX would be things such as product quality, fast turn around times, and responsive, friendly customer service.
The ultimate long-term goal of the Brand – CX connection is to create an emotional relevance with your customers. By establishing a sensibility associated with your Brand, it starts to become “their brand”, which is the greatest accolade. These long-term patrons become your best advertisers through word of mouth and on social media. Your base customer was attracted to your core values in the first place, so you shouldn’t have to compromise who you are while cultivating a loyal consumer base.
Engagement: Early, During-Purchase, and Post-Purchase Touch Points
The customer acquaintanceship begins way before the initial contact or purchase. It is critical that branding components are put in place at these early points of contact, and done so in a clear, consistent approach across all media.
Early points of contact are those that are delivered without a person in place, your Brand is the delivery system. This is why it is so critical to have your Brand Voice speak clearly and efficiently for you. Examples: social media, advertising, brochures, flyers, direct mail, introduction to your website, possibly third-party websites (depending on how extensive your advertising and supply chain reaches), and word of mouth.
As we move from the pre-purchase interaction into the “during the purchase” time, this is where your people are the critical players in making a sale: both on the phone and in-store. The non-people motivators would be: product packaging (and the emotional connection with that), the in-store showroom experience and environment, and the ability of your website to communicate and perform to make the sale.
Eventually the long-term goal is for your customers to be so loyal the CX is practically evangelized. Companies like Nike, Apple, Coca-Cola, even the Girl Scouts have achieved this type of loyalty. Genuine loyalty is earned over time. And it is accomplished by a constant exposure to the Brand, where an emotional connection is established.
In your branding efforts, you will have jurisdiction over some of these Touch Points, your employees will play a key factor in some, and others are completely out of your control with the consumer being your spokesperson on social media and face to face sharing.
Implementation of the full ecosystem will take time, and trial & error to reach effectiveness within your companies’ unique ecosystem. As you fine tune those Brand Touch Points your loyal customer base will grow.
Early on business tend to focus more on company efficiency than the Customer Experience. As the company matures they realize the motto “the customer comes first” really is true, and CX wins over efficiency.