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Have You Looked At Your Customer Experience Lately?

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 19/02/2016 Scott MacFarland

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Customer experience is one of those terms that most people really don't think about. After all, sales revenues are top of mind of every businessperson and even marketing teams. Is it possible too? Hmm...
What Exactly Does The Term Customer Experience Mean Anyway?
I think this varies depending on whom you ask. Since I am a leader of a marketing team, my slant on this goes something like this. Customer experience is how the customer interacts and relates successfully with the business at all touch points. I know this sounds very technical - well, it is. However, I say it this way because every business and every marketing team must be customer obsessed at each and every touch point. If we're not, we've failed to wow the customer and they turn to another business that does wow them - eek, do we really want that?
Define The Customer's Motivations
If you know your customers, personas, target audience... whatever you call them, then you must understand their motivations. This is critical to get right, and not guess. When you understand what motivates them you have a much better idea of how to meet their expectations. Isn't that what businesses and marketing team are supposed to work together to accomplish?
Define The Touch Points And Content
Early in my career, I spent a great deal of time producing content. It's a love of mine that I truly enjoy. What makes content tremendously successful is delivering it at the right time with a relevant message all while weaving in the motivations of the persona along with their expectations on the right media channel (or touch point) - here's a great example. You can have the best content, but if the touch points aren't well defined and measured, the customer experience will most likely be sub-par at best. Tip: Here's a question to ask before you get started. If the customer path and touch points are to be successful, what experience do you want the customer to have and what is the end result you want?
What Happens When Marketing Teams Fail?
Nobody likes to admit they failed, but we all know it happens. Here's the grim reality, when the customer experience isn't right... in other words, when touch points, content alignment with persona motivations and expectations do not gel to create a great experience - the customer leaves. But wait, there's more to this highly complicated customer maze. Let's say your content is spot on, the media channel (or touch point) is correct and even the timing of the message delivery is good - but... the customer has a bad experience because functionally, they cannot seem to navigate through the complex mobile to web to landing page to content offer to form submission process - ugh. That's a long trail of misery if it doesn't work seamlessly. So make sure you get this right by understanding what your customer wants, when they want it and deliver it on the device they want it. This helps deliver a great customer experience.

"Marketing research has discovered that it takes 12 positive experiences to repair the damage caused by a single unresolved negative one. In today's competitive business environment, even one negative experience is enough to lose a customer forever because people now are less tolerant toward poor encounters than ever before." - Daniel Newman, Forbes
You've Failed - What Next?
First, admit your plan didn't work. Then break it down investigating each and every touch point, digital link, CTA, conversion point, data gathering form, offer and yes, even your content (as good as you think it is). Then, gather all the data you can to review any trends that appear (good or bad). At some point your marketing intuition is going to kick-in and provide a choice. You either try the same initiative once again - or shake it up and look for the points that broke down and try something new to achieve a different result.
Here's a good example. Let's say you are using Facebook advertising that leads to a landing page with content, a form and offer. The data says your ad is being viewed, but there are no conversions (no form submissions). Maybe you leave the ad the same and shorten your landing page, write a different CTA and offer something different - make it much shorter this time. This keeps the customer experience seamless but allows them to accomplish their goal quicker.
If you haven't thought about your customer experience, it's time to start dissecting how your customers are interacting with your brand. You will soon find out that by having a clear path to conversion that's simple and accommodates what the customer wants and needs, purchase behavior changes from "I'm not sure I want to buy" to "I want to buy now, I like how this company makes it easy for me."

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