For many years I’ve been preaching that customer service is the new marketing. Give your customers something positive to talk about and they will tell their story to their friends, colleagues and family members. That’s marketing – specifically known as Word-of-Mouth (WOM) marketing. It is driven by the interactions your employees have with customers.
In the past five or six years, there has been a tremendous focus on customer experience (CX). CX used to refer to customer service only – nothing more. Today, CX has expanded to include every interaction the customer has with any aspect of an organization. That includes the website, packaging of the product, the process the customer goes through, customer service before, during and after the sale, and much more. It’s everything. And, for most companies, the concept of “everything” is daunting.
Let’s start at the top. If customer experience really is the new marketing, maybe it’s time to rebrand the CMO. I spoke with PwC’s Global Chief Experience Officer David Clarke who believes CMOs should replace the M with an X.
“Enlightened companies genuinely understand that experience trumps all, and that sales, marketing and customer engagement are codependent,” Clarke said. “Experience is the endgame, not marketing.”
In some companies, there is a CXO who works alongside or for the CMO. However, we need to consider that the lines may blur between these two important titles and, for lack of a better term, departments.
Consider just how important CX is today. PwC’s 2019 Global Consumer Insights Survey shared the following information: (Note: My comments follow the stats):
- Give them something to talk about: Sixty-five percent of U.S. consumers find a positive experience with a brand is more powerful and influential than advertising. In other words, experience trumps advertising. Build on this. Create an experience that is so good customers will tell their friends, colleagues and family members. Your customers can become your evangelists – a trusted source that will bring you new customers through their positive words and recommendations.
- Convenience is a powerful strategy: Forty-three percent of consumers would pay more for a convenient experience.Customers like doing business with companies that make it easy. Take a look at every interaction your customers have with you. Where is the friction? Where do you make things difficult for the customer? How can you reduce or eliminate that friction? Are there other companies (your competitors and companies outside of your industry) that have a better process you can incorporate, making it easier for your customers to do business with you? Answer those questions and find ways to create a more convenient CX.
- The customers’ perceptions are their realities: Seventy-three percent of people claim customer experience is an important factor in their decision about who to do business with. Yet, only 49% of consumers say companies are providing that good experience. Furthermore, 59% of consumers feel companies have lost touch with the human element of the experience. Very few companies can create loyalty with a totally digital experience. It’s often the human element building the emotional connection that leads to customer loyalty.
- One strike and you’re out: Almost one third (32%) of customers will stop doing business with a brand they love after just one bad experience. Just one! And these are the customers who love you. Think about the customers who don’t. How fast are they willing to switch to another brand?
These statistics tell a story…