Thoughts

It’s the customer experience, stupid.

February 28th, 2017   |   Mark Jenson

When Bill Clinton ran for President in 1992, his primary campaign platform was based on four simple words “It’s the economy, stupid.” I’ve always thought this was a laser-focused vision statement.

For marketers we can replicate this succinct vision statement to “It’s all about the customer experience, stupid.”

I was recently at an Arby’s restaurant with my son. The Arby’s team member that took our order delivered a great customer experience. Not exactly the most challenging customer experience to deliver, but one that we all go through frequently. As we walked out the door my son rang the bell (often placed at the exit of every Arby’s restaurant) to acknowledge the positive customer experience that we had. I asked him why and he just said – “We had a fun conversation and she served us with a smile.”

A customer experience can be defined as the aggregate of all the interactions that customers have with a brand.

Recent data from an eConsultancy study on customer experience reveals that 89% of senior retail marketers agree that the customer experience is their brand. In all fairness this seems low to me – do the other 11% of senior retail marketers not think that customer experience is important?

Compelling, consistent and engaging customer experiences are the keys to building brand loyalty and growing revenue. The obsession to deliver a great customer experience is why brands like Apple, Disney, Nordstrom and Southwest Airlines are successful each and every day. The customer experience is the primary strategic driver for each one of these dynamic brands.

I strongly believe that strategy for all companies should be solely focused on the customer and not the company. The customer experience should be at the heart of all marketing plans and the marketing programs need to be built out from it.

At Preston Kelly we use a variety of strategic marketing tools to help our clients and our teams focus on the customer experience.

1. Customer journey mapping – identify how customers purchase/use your product or service.
2. User pathways – map all the places where customers can interact with your product or service.
3. Connections pathways – pin-point each media opportunity where your product or service can make a connection with your customer.
4. Message matrixes – design messaging platforms based on where customers are in the buying process and focus the message to reach them effectively.

These strategic tools can help any brand build a winning customer experience program. And while we can’t control each and every brand touchpoint for our clients, we can help identify and work with them to insure a consistent brand experience is delivered for each and every one of their customers.

One of the world’s most successful brands is Amazon and they clearly know how to deliver great customer experiences. The founder and CEO of Amazon Jeff Bezos has said, “We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience better.”

So as you are thinking about your marketing plans and programs for 2017 there is just one thing that should be at the top of your list. Everything should be focused on delivering great customer experiences in all facets of your business.

We’d love to hear other good/bad customer experiences you’ve had recently. Share them with us.