Have you ever gone out to eat at a restaurant or stayed at a hotel, but it seemed like there was something missing, even though the product or service was sufficient. On the other hand, have you ever experienced something that blew your mind away and you just cannot seem to stop mentioning it to your friends or colleagues?
It has been said again and again that providing the customer the right product at the right time at the right place is crucial to every company, and rightly so. However, once you take a closer look at how customers are behaving and the choices they make, one can realise that customers are looking beyond the product (or the service) itself. They are looking for a feel-good factor, for something exciting, for … *wait for it* … a memorable experience. Although for some this may just be another marketing buzz word, customer experience has, and still is, proving to be an important success-determining factor for companies, particularly in the service industry.
Customer experience is defined as the level of interaction in a business relationship between a customer and a company. It reflects how the customer feels about the company or brand. Customer experience can easily determine whether the customer makes a repeat purchase or not, or even worse, result into the customer sharing his/her bad experience to others.
The following tips will surely act as words of wisdom when it comes to thinking about how to improve customer experience:
Define your audience and understand who your customers are
Same as when targeting and positioning your product, defining and understanding your audience is vital whenever you need to create or improve customer experience. Therefore getting to know their behaviour, personality, preferences and expectations is highly important. Also, keep in mind that not every customer may be the right audience. Choosing the right kind of audience is also advisable.
Put yourself in the customer’s shoes
As simple and obvious as it may seem, this is most of the time ignored. Firms tend to focus too much on company goals and forget that a fundamental reason that firms exist is to please and serve the customer. To be able to create a great experience for the customer, one needs to be able to put him/herself in the customer’s situation. One needs to think as a customer and ask questions, such as: What would be the initial customer reaction when entering my shop?; How does the customer feel when browsing my website?; If I want the customer to relax, will the music blasting through the speakers and the choice of lighting in a retail setting make the customer unwind, or the contrary? These and many more factors are questions that need to be tackled.
Provide a holistic experience
For maximum impact, the same level of experience has to be present in all activities the company does, be it in the actual store or in the company’s website (especially if the website is an ecommerce platform). Consistency is key.
Evaluate. Think. Improve. Repeat.
It is useless investing a great deal of time and money in creating and offering an experience, if it is not being regularly evaluated and improved to respond to the market requirements. A good experience today may not be a good experience tomorrow. Customers’ preferences and expectations change, technology keeps on developing and lifestyles vary.
Investing in the customers’ experience is vital. Sometimes you’ll be surprised at what a little thinking can do, but customers may actually be ready to pay a bit more if offered a truly remarkable experience.