A brand is no longer what we tell consumers it is. It’s what consumers tell each other it is.
The customer journey is more connected than ever. Your customers’ experiences get shared whether you’re in the conversation or not. Customer Experience Marketing gives your customers the microphone. It’s your job to give them something to talk about.
Customer experience is the sum of all experiences your customer has with you over the lifetime of the relationship. It includes a person’s behaviors, attitudes and emotions about using your product or service.
Customer Experience Marketing is similar to customer experience management, except instead of focusing on ‘managing customers’, it focuses on improving the customer experience through engagement. Engagement with your brand, your content and your employees. By consistently illustrating customer experience via your marketing, you reach prospective buyers during their research process and get recognized as a trusted seller.
It’s difficult to ignore the facts:
- 47% of Social Media users have sought customer service via Social channel.
- 71% of those who receive positive Social care are likely to recommend your brand to others.
- Only 19% of those who don’t get any response are likely to recommend that brand.
It takes 12 positive experiences to make up for one unresolved negative experience. With the widely-accepted use of social media, including online review sites, Customer Experience Marketing should be part of your overall plan for 2015…and beyond.
To succeed in Customer Experience Marketing, you must first start by actually delivering a great customer experience. Take a good, hard look at what it’s like to be one of your customers. I’ve always thought the Golden Rule applies to business: “Treat others as you would treat yourself.”
You may believe in this principle but do your team members? It’s best to develop strategies, policies and operational systems to ensure your customers’ experience turns out the way you want it to.
The next step in Customer Experience Marketing strategy is to listen and respond. Now this might seem too simple but when you dive deeper, you realize it does take quite an effort to execute. You need:
- A community manager to field all customer engagement.
- A solid content strategy for illustrating customer experience.
- A brand advocacy strategy for spotting customer engagement and how to leverage it in your marketing.
The lasting effects of Customer Experience Marketing are very similar to word-of-mouth, only much more dramatic. Here’s an example:
I like to fly on Jet Blue out of Long Beach, CA because they consistently deliver a great customer experience and they’re responsive. I always check-in when I get to Long Beach and tag Jet Blue in my tweet. They’re fantastic about tweeting back to me, always with a cheerful message. I respond with appreciation.
Here are the consequences of that short exchange:
- It makes me happy and I feel important when a big brand cares enough to respond.
- My 10K+ Twitter followers witness the exchange providing evidence of a positive customer experience.
- I talk about Jet Blue to my friends and family on social networks and in person.
- I use the exchange to illustrate Customer Experience Marketing on my blog, thereby mentioning Jet Blue again in a positive light.
Voila! Customer Experience Marketing at its finest.
Here’s another exchange that happened a few days ago on Facebook. My friend, Mike Correra, had what started out to be a negative experience with Wells Fargo. Kudos to them for listening:
Mike wrote: “Was very impressed by Wells today! It’s a little thing but meant a lot to a customer and that’s what I am sharing with my team today as a result! A customer service training point provided by my own bank!”
He adds: “I think that if a company makes the decision to be on a social network they should pay attention to it or not be on it at all. What impressed me most was that they picked up on their brand #hashtag and responded, well done on their behalf! Wells Fargo, WIN!”
There are far too many negative customer experiences that live their lives into eternity online. We know what that can mean for every business and perhaps you’ve gone through it yourself. It’s not pretty when mistakes are made and social media get a hold of it.
Your best solution is to implement a system of Customer Experience Marketing within your business. When your customers love you and express it through their own networks, it’s clear evidence of a positive experience. Isn’t that what well crave when we’re looking to purchase?