Written by Sonal Jaiswal | Evangelist, Customer Guru
Brands are omnipresent. When we are watching TV or surfing the internet, they try to catch our attention. When we are driving or walking down a road, they talk to us through huge hoardings. Some surprise us by inviting themselves into our Inbox and some others try to lure us with offers and discounts. Persuaded by the advertisements, some of us are convinced and approach these brands with the expectations they fed us through those ads – only to find the experience disastrous!
Brands do a wonderful job at hogging the limelight and luring the customers. Unfortunately, quite a few are not able to live up to the expectations they create. In face, some fall so short that customers switch brands immediately.
Every brand is heavily dependent on a few factors that are responsible for a satisfactory overall customer experience. Here are a few that we believe are most important.
Establishing an emotional connect
A brand can boast of having the best quality products or of having multiple branches across the land, but the personal and emotional connect that it has with its customers is unique. Some of the biggest brands like Coca Cola, McDonald’s etc. are testimony to the fact that personal connect of one brand can never be replaced by another. Copied, yes. Replaced, not at all.
Competitors can copy a product, the price, the code – but they can never copy the service! The smiling voice, the warmth in the personal greeting, the genuine interest in hearing a customer out when approached with problems: each of these decide the fate of a brand’s bond with its customers.
On the other hand, if a brand fails to establish that emotional connect with its customers, it wouldn’t survive the battle of acquiring and keeping a customer for life.
Identifying and fulfilling customer expectations
While several fast food restaurants enrage their customers for making them wait, Subway is one place where people don’t mind waiting at all! The reason? The customers know that they are going to get what they want and exactly how they want. The fact that Subway lets its customers customise their sandwich with varying proportions of ingredients that suit their tongue, has worked fantastically for its customer experience.
This is just one example of how brands build and deliver products revolving around their customers’ likes and dislikes. Instead of investing all the time in marketing, if sufficient resources are invested in studying the customers’ tastes, a brand could keep its competitors at bay.
Appreciating and involving customers in brand building
If customers feel that they are a part of the brand, the impact on customer experience is massive. Starbucks might be well known for its coffee, but it is also quite popular for the manner in which it involves and engages its customers. It created a platform called ‘My Starbucks Idea’ where customers would give suggestions and ideas which it eventually implements. Others could vote in support of the given ideas. This way the customers felt appreciated when they were rewarded for their contribution in the betterment of the brand. Moreover, imagine the joy of a customer when he sees his suggestion being adopted as a change at Starbucks. That’s how a differentiating customer experience is built!
While advertising and marketing are essential in spreading the word about one’s existence, brands sometimes out do it and rub customers the wrong way. Giving space and trusting the customers to get back with a response would help develop a sense of respect for the brand, thereby improving customer experience.
Brands need to get this straight; build one customer at a time or lose them all! One customer’s great experience is more rewarding than a few other’s not so memorable ones. So be alert and play it right!