Call them rituals, ceremonies, habits … associating a brand with a set behaviour can have a powerful effect on loyalty and enjoyment.
Right now, it feels like almost every brand wants to hook their customers on sweet moments that have them coming back for more. But is that what people want or have brands simply made high-energy experiences the new must-add?
How should companies map more effective and engaging customer journeys? By recognising that such journeys are really about how customers feel over the course of the entire journey not just how they feel at any given point in that journey.
It seems everywhere I look in the marketing press these days, someone is advocating the need for brands to deliver experiences. But not everyone can or should deliver a formatted experience, and, equally, some brands would quickly wither if they didn’t.
We shouldn’t even think of the term “customer service” as being about something that is valuable to customers. In fact, customer service is worth next to nothing. The reasons are simple. We live in a service-focused age, and the people who buy from you know they’re customers. So the term “customer service” does not describe anything customers don’t expect and it certainly doesn’t envelope anything of particular value to them.
Personalisation is the quest of the moment for so many marketers, with 70% of executives interviewed by Forrester saying it is now of strategic importance to their business. (What may surprise you, as it did me, is how generalised so much marketing still is.)
As the downtown areas of major metropolitans reclaim popularity and no small element of retail cool amongst the citerati, more and more globally scaled brands are scaling up their physical presence with impressive and expensive flagship stores that literally showcase who they are and what they have to offer.
Expect – in the sense that they are ready to act immediately should anything go wrong. They do so with grace, speed and humanity. They apologise when it’s appropriate. They move quickly. They recognise the loyalty opportunity of doing right by people.
In this post, Nigel Hollis explores a fundamental misalignment. Brand owners tend to view customer experiences in isolation, by channel, whereas customers of course view and grade their experiences cumulatively. Tom Asacker captures why customers think this way. A brand, he says, is “one, interdependent system of behavior”. The problem is that in too many organisations the “system” has many masters and each wants independent control of their domain. CMOs, who might be expected to have responsibility for the overall experience as of right, do not. That’s because large chunks of the interface with customers, and the factors that influence that interface, remain for the most part outside of their control. They do not fit neatly into the “normal” org chart definition of what constitutes marketing. And when multi-lateral ownership makes contact with a unilateral expectation, just as at Penn Station, the scene is set for disappointment. As a result, there is significant potential for the system to jeopardise itself at any time, at any weak point – through bad training, bad coding, bad quality, …
Everybody wants to feel they got value for money. Sure – but when exactly does something feel like it was “worth it”? For example, Lady Gaga’s just wound up a three concert stint in Auckland. When does a concert experience feel like it’s worth it? Is it when you finally see the star in person as they step onstage days, weeks, months after you bought the tickets? Is it at the end of the opening number as the crowd erupts? Is it at the end of the show as you fight your way home through the traffic, images of the last couple of hours running through your head? Is it during your favourite song? Or is the value for money moment when you’re telling friends your “I was there” story via Facebook or, days or months later, over dinner? When does a film feel worth it? How about the experience of buying a dress? When do you think the keynote speaker at a conference has delivered or is delivering value for money? At what points …