It’s hard not to get “soft” when we start talking about customer experience. We love data and driving decisions based on the customer, but the experience a customer has is many times hard to quantify. It goes into the emotional or relational realm, and two customers who spend the same amount of time in the store, buy the same item, and use the same clerk or Website, could have totally different experiences. How can we control this, or at least start to turn a more consistent experience out for our customers?
One really interesting point to talk about when it comes to customer experience, is expectation. In the example above, one of the big influences in that total customer experience is the expectation that customer has when he or she enters your store, or subscribes to your SAAS application. We don’t know the customer’s history with products in your category, affluence, personality, and a host of other pieces of information that are going to shape the customers experience.
Set expectations in marketing
One of the easiest ways to groom the customer experience is to set expectations for your customers in your marketing. Part of your USP, or value statements, should point to the overall experience of your brand or product. If it’s easy to use, or promotes a certain lifestyle, those points should be emphasized in your marketing to start to set the expectation. The marketing and advertising that got the customer to the front door should have key points on the customer experience they should expect, and you will deliver on if they choose to engage with you.
Set expectations in store
Now the obvious pitfall here is you need to not only meet, but go beyond the expectations of your marketing in the delivery of your customer experience. If you are a simple-to-use time tracking application, it should be very easy to use, and also present a host of other benefits. If you are a retail outlet that focuses on an affluent lifestyle, your in-store experience should be inclusive in a chance for customers to live that lifestyle while they are in the store to the point of escapism. Growing and setting expectations is a key power play of an advanced marketing department. Those who can really dictate a superior customer experience and set those expectations will rise to lead the market.
Additionally, this is a very fun and engaging marketing exercise, but one that can be measured as well. In retail environments, you can track sales by clerk, or by different stores with similar revenue to see which experience performs better. So even though we are creating emotional and relational experiences, we can still collect data to make sure it’s working overall to drive sales. We can build great loyalty and retention in our customers with the experience alone in many cases. And If you are not an experiential brand, you can still control the experience your customer has with you and your sales team. Taking control and setting expectations for customer experience is a win-win for everyone.