Customer Experience Management is the new customer centric dimension of management that helps firms in developing loyal customers.
Seasoned people in the marketing department have always known that retaining existing customers is a lot cheaper than acquiring new ones. Loyal customers not only help reduce your Customer Acquisition Costs, but also help build your brand through word of mouth.
Think of companies such as Apple, Zappos or South West airlines. They have a loyal band of customers, who will act as unpaid ambassadors for their companies. In this post, I will talk about the ways you can build a strong loyalty among your customer base, by focusing on Customer Experience Management (CEM).
Customer Experience Management is a discipline that lets you optimize the customers’ interactions with the company and helps improve their overall experience. It involves adjusting the activities of the company to revolve around customers’ experiences.
Customer experience isn’t an expense. Customer Experience Management bolsters your brand!
There are 5 main activities involved in CEM.
- Understanding the customer. The customers’ needs, wants, desires and aspirations must be analyzed for each of the major customer segments. The behavioral, demographic and cultural aspects need to be thoroughly understood. This part will address why a customer will be moved to buy your product/service.
- Understanding the environment. A customer’s experience is always influenced by the environment. Thus, the environmental factors – competition, marketing channels and purchasing environment (where the sale happens) must be understood. This part will address how a customer will buy from you. At the end of this analysis, you must be able to decide on the purchasing platform. For instance, if your competition doesn’t provide an online purchase of the product and you realize there is a customer pain point, you can try to address that.
- Building the brand experience. Based on the analysis above, you start designing the customer’s brand experience. This involves building the logos, visual identity, slogans, brochures, website colors & fonts, and other marketing experiences that are consistent with customer’s aspirations and the environmental factors. For instance, if you are building a financial organization, your brand experience should convey trust, efficiency and integrity.
- Building the platform. Once you brand experience is built, you start optimizing your operational infrastructure and make it easy for the customer to buy products & get support. This involves training your personnel and building policies and processes that are customer centric. For instance, if you find that majority of your customers are using Android phones, you could build native Android apps that make it easy for them to discover products, shop and access your knowledge base.
- Building the Interface. This part involves optimizing the customer interface with your company. You must make it super-easy for the customer to get the job done and spend minimum time on the interface. For instance, you could modify your sign-up form to be done in 30 seconds, have a single-sign on, reduce the number of clicks to finish the sale, etc.
Customer Experience is the sum of all the experiences a customer has with a business during their entire lifetime relationship, taking in not just the key touch points (product awareness, social contact, the transaction itself, post purchase feedback) but also how personal and memorable these experiences are. The emotional attachment is directly proportionate to profitability in the long run, therefore firms must adopt Customer Experience Management practices to enhance their performance!