Customer Experience – A Marketing Tool
So many businesses, large and small fail to take advantage of using the customers own experience with their product or service as a marketing tool. What does this mean? So many companies emphasise their commitment to ‘customer service’ but customer service usually only happens when things go wrong for some reason, including where the customer just bought the wrong thing for their needs or just changed their mind. At this point customer service is indeed extremely important, without it, you can find yourself on the receiving end of bad reviews or complaints, all of which can be time consuming and damaging.
The experience the customer has with your product or service starts when they first contact you, whether that contact is an anonymous visit to your website, a phone call or first visit to your bricks and mortar place of business. This is where the ‘tone’ of their experience is set, make it positive and you’re more likely to not only get the sale but find a customer who will return time and time again.
However, if the opposite is what happens, then not only do you make it more difficult to get the initial sale, but you also make it more likely that even should they buy, next time, they’ll still be looking elsewhere.
The customer experience involves every sensory input as well as subjective judgements made by the customer. As a case in point’ I’m sat in a restaurant having brunch as I write this, the waitress has been excellent, the duty manager though… Well she’s done nothing actually wrong, it’s just she came over and asked us if everything was OK. We said yes, then my husband asked for a refill for his drink. At this point I should mention the only staff on duty are the waitress and the duty manager. At the point where my husband ordered a refill, the waitress was serving another table, so what did the duty manager do?
She called out to the waitress to bring us a refill, what’s so bad you ask, nothing really but as she was doing nothing herself, why make us wait until the other table had been served? Had she like other managers in this same restaurant just got it herself, it would have added to our experience rather than diminish it.
The next thing is that we have (we come here a lot) the same meal, it rarely changes, yet sometimes the bill comes out at twice the normal rate. This is because each duty manager interprets the pricing (we change a standard menu item for another) when the overall manager is on duty we get charged the standard rate, this duty manager charges all items as ‘sides. This has the effect of doubling the price.
Now we’re regulars, but even we get fed up and if this happens too often, we just don’t come for a few weeks, we go elsewhere. If this happened in our first couple of visits we probably wouldn’t have become regulars. So relaxing or resting on your laurels with regular customers is not a good idea either.
There is so much competition around, no matter what business you’re in that providing an above average customer experience every time is mandatory if you want to stay in business.