2020 has been dubbed the ‘year of the customer’ by those in the marketing know. While ‘the customer is always right’ had become a tired cliché little considered, it can’t be doubted that the marketing sphere has changed from an aggressive push to sell to a more nuanced space with a client focus. Today, Zebra 360 Online Marketing takes a look at creating a meaningful customer experience that will boost your ROI and keep customers rolling in.

The rise of customer power

Gone are the days of ‘hard sell’ marketing. Partly, this comes from the rise of the web and online content. Customers now have considerably more power in educating themselves. They aren’t reliant on what you tell them as the truth- they can discover it for themselves. Marketing is thus no longer about pushing information- it’s becoming about creating the experiences customers crave.

The customer has not been happy for a long time, however, with businesses too caught up in selling and pushing to consider the experience the customer receives. Less than half of US consumers believe modern business provides them with good experiences! That’s a scary statistic- and one you don’t want to join yourself.

What makes a positive customer experience?

Four key factors influence the customer’s perception of their experience with the business. Efficiency, convenience, knowledge and good service. Ease of purchase and paying, while perhaps just a sub-genre of ‘efficiency’, are well worth highlighting too.

Customers want to see businesses using up-to-date technologies that make the purchase and payment process easy on them. This could be a simple mobile experience, or even digital ordering in a fast food joint. It doesn’t really matter. Personalization, and the overall brand image/design, play an important part in the process too.

Remember that you’re operating in a very saturated space. Almost no business has a niche so tight it doesn’t have significant competitors, especially with digital options a click away. No longer will your customers put up with bad attitude and inefficient service because they have no other choice. In some ways, making sure you have a thriving, positive company culture is the cornerstone of creating an ideal customer experience.

Looking at the customer experience in more depth

It’s not enough, however, to merely rest on your laurels. This is an arena where you want to take charge and develop a targeted plan. It’s important to include everyone in this plan, too, no matter what their role may be. Mixed messages from brand representatives will quickly sour your customer relations.

Bear in mind that your customers want to build a relationship with you in which they feel that they matter. Communication is a key part of this. Social media can be a powerful positive influence here- but the slightest gaffe can also quickly tank your goodwill, so have strategies in place to manage it professionally and don’t assume it’s your personal stomping ground. Remember that word of mouth makes reputations. Happy customers will bring people in, where unhappy customers can soon significantly damage your brand’s standing.

Respond to customer enquiries timeously. Acknowledge positive shares and stories. Be as quick to manage negative criticism and reviews- and not with vitriol, hurt feelings and accusations. Reach out to dissatisfied customers and see if there’s a way you can mend the issue together. Respond to emails and enquiries. And above all, be ready to evolve. What customers expect today may not be as important tomorrow. But by keeping an ever-vigilant eye on the customer service experience, you can help shape a positive impression of your brand that will last for years to come.

Need help shaping a customer service experience that will reward your bottom line? Let the Zebra 360 digital marketing team help you create a CX strategy that will reap rewards.