Think of the one thing that matters the most to your brand.
To some of you, it's your logo--aesthetically perfect in every way.
To others, it's your product.
Perhaps it's even your stellar service.
But what about the experience of your brand? What about the "feeling" that customers get each time they interact with your company?
You might dismiss the idea of a "feeling" being all that monumental. But as the wise Maya Angelou once said: "People don't remember what you said. They don't remember what you did. They remember how you made them feel."
This statement is just as true for large conglomerates as it is for individuals. Everyone should strive to give the best possible experience to those they interact with. This means that everything you do--every product, every phone call, every tweet even--matters.
Everything should be the best experience you can possibly deliver.
Easy to say? Yes. Easy to do? Of course not... but those are the customer expectations today.
Recent technologies, as well as the rise of social networks, have shaken up the customer-brand relationship. The control is now in the hands of the customer.
Experiences have always mattered. But now, experiences are the only thing that matters. In fact, in just a few years, 89% of businesses will compete mainly on customer experience. And by 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.
The shift in power from brand to consumer manifests in three key ways:
1. Customers know more about brands than ever
Brands used to have all the information and customers were limited to the information from their own experiences and those of a limited circle of friends. Today, customers know more about products than a company's own sales people; more about pricing than a company's own finance department; and more about support challenges than customer care.
Basically, people make up their mind about your business before you even interact with them.
2. Every customer is a global media company
The incremental impact that any single customer could have on your business used to be minimal. People could buy your product or not buy your product. Either way, their impact was limited to their own purchasing decisions.
Today, any customer can broadcast the information about your business (positive or negative) to billions of people at an incremental cost of zero.
3. Customer expectations are elevated
Today, we live in a world where you can book a castle in France on AirBnB, summon a Ferrari to pick you up at the airport on Uber, or share an entire catalog of music with your aunt in Morocco on Spotify. Whatever tactics you employed 10 years ago to impress customers will no longer work. The stakes are way higher now.
Where does that leave brands?
You basically have two options: keep up with these new customer expectations or become obsolete. And the way we define a customer is any person who interacts with your brand at any point in time, in any capacity, on any channel. Anyone can be either an advocate or a detractor.
A Goliath challenge for brands today is to produce and empower the best experiences for anyone who interacts with your brand, and to do it consistently. But to do so successfully one requires a holistic approach to the infrastructure, training, policies, and human resources needed across the company, on a global scale, across geographies and product lines.
Like I said, this is not easy.
Customer experience management done right might be the biggest hurdle facing every single enterprise in the world today. But while a challenge, it is not impossible.
To help you understand and keep up with the expectation of the modern customer, we put together an eBook on Customer Experience Management. It is jam-packed with advice from leading thinkers in the field, as well as the tips on how to start on the journey of becoming a customer-centric organization.