CX, CEM or Customer Experience Management: Customer Experience matters more than ever. But what to do if your marketing means are limited? If you can’t afford to hire a CX designer? Don’t panic. Create a great Customer Experience in three steps – and feel the power of customer love.
You are seated at a restaurant table, enjoying a perfect meal with a beautiful vis-à-vis. Except you are not really enjoying it. It’s not the food: every bite tastes perfect. But you had to wait for what felt like a lifetime for it to arrive. You’re freezing, because you got seated at the table right next to the door. It is so loud you can barely hear your own words; talking to your companion is impossible. To make matters worse, the waiter is really unpleasant. You will never eat here again – even though the food was perfect.
Why Customer Experience Matters
Once upon a time, creating a good product, turning into a brand and running a friendly customer service was enough to create a loyal client base. Not anymore.
With today’s competition, customers can choose from a variety of products that are, let’s face it, pretty similar. Take, for example, a restaurant. If you live in a slightly urban area, you can choose from many places to eat reasonably good food. Still: You probably go to that same place over and over again. Why?
Humans value Experience over Products
Good restaurants don’t sell meals; they sell experiences. A candlelight dinner, the 50ies diner, or the down-to-cowboy’s-earth steak house: Successful restaurateurs create an over-all perfect experience to make their food shine. The waiting staff’s attire, the interior design and even the nice, clean lavatories are all part of it. More than that: They are just as important as the chef’s creations.
No matter how good your product is – if you don’t create a great experience around it, your customers will shop somewhere else. You do it too, don’t you? That’s ok: It’s only human (and very healthy) to value experiences over things.
CX, CEM or WTF, sorry, what is Customer Experience Management?
The revolution of Customer Experience Management is a shift of focus from brand and product towards customers and their feelings. In short, Customer Experience is about making your customers feel good. While good old-fashioned Customer Relationship Management (CRM) focuses on creating and maintaining a connection, CEM is all about the quality of this connection at a very emotional level. In other words: To create the perfect customer experience, you’re not aiming for five-star ratings or hundreds of likes – you’re looking for love. Long-lasting, ever-trusting love.
The Value Of Experience
Experience is a very subjective thing – and thus very persuasive: Nobody can argue against feelings; they are always true. If you feel good about something, you just do, and no logical argument will ever change that feeling. Or, as Albert Einstein put it: “The only source of knowledge is experience”.
Knowledge might be power – but experience is its mighty source. Crafting a positive consumer experience creates more loyalty; in fact, it comes with its own value: the majority of consumers is willing pay more for a better experience.
Aim for Love, not Likes
Again: CX Design does not aim for likes and ratings – it creates love. Take car dealers, for example. The cars and brands they sell are pretty much the same. Prices may vary, but only slightly (unless they opt for financial hara-kiri with an extremely low pricing strategy). Again, it’s the overall experience that counts. As a car dealer, you need to make your customers love their future car like no one else does; you need them to trust you, and only you, to find the perfect vehicle for them.
If you manage to do that, they will not only be willing to pay a higher price for their car, but come back to you for the rest of their car-buying lives. How to get there? Read on.
Customer Experience Management in 3 Steps
The easiest way to create a perfect customer experience is to hire team of data analysts and survey specialists to get the most out of your customer’s data, a marketing specialist to create a CEM strategy, and an CX designer or two to implement it. But what if your business can’t afford to do that? No worries. You are not alone. Any business can improve its customer’s experience – even solo-freelancers or one-woman businesses. Actually, restaurateurs have been doing it for decades.
Step 1. Put yourself in your customer’s shoes
Customer Experience Management means re-thinking every single contact between your business and your customers. Take a sheet of paper and map it out: When and how do customers interact with your business? Include direct contact such as customer service to indirect interaction, such as e-mail newsletters or your website.Walk a mile in their Manolo Blahniks, and you will really know where your customers hurt. Click To Tweet
Walk through all of these interactions in your customer’s shoes – and keep them on for each and every step. This might feel strange at first, especially if the shoes are very different from what you are used to wearing. But it will be worth it: Walk a mile in their Manolo Blahniks, and you will really know where your customers hurt.
Step 2. Create Consistent Experience Design
The devil is in the details – and experience is too. Restaurant owners have known it before CX Design even became a word: French cuisine is not served on cheap plastic plates; McDonalds would scare customers away with Danish design furniture and expensive looking silver cutlery. The manly steak house waiter is usually not wearing a pink flower dress. The organic food delivery should arrive with a hybrid vehicle rather than a monster truck. You get the gist: Every detail matters.
Take all your interactions and turn them into a consistent and unique experience. An authentic experience that your customers will only get with you.
Step 3. Make it Personal!
Experience is personal. Your experiences are yours – and only yours. Just as no one can take them from you, you can’t pass them on to others. Don’t think of your customers as an anonymous mass of focus groups and consumers. Instead, think of THE customer, singular, and treat each and every one with warmth respect. It will help know as much about each customer as you can (a smart CRM can help you with that). If you’re running an e-shop, this includes personalized messages at checkout, or a personal thank you note after a sale. Why not send a birthday card instead of an automatic follow-up survey after each sale?
Keep it personal – and keep on developing and adapting your strategies to your customers. Experience is a process. Love is, too; it needs time and efforts to grow.
CX Design: The Future of Marketing?
Some say Customer Experience Design is the future of marketing. Most professionals rate its potential higher than, say, content marketing or brand strategy. In fact, the return of investment of Customer Experience Management can be measured pretty clearly. And most of the time, it is more than worth it: Customer Love generates more sales, lower customer churn, and lower marketing costs; because word-of-mouth marketing usually comes for free – but it has to be earned.
Your customers matter. You know it – but they need to feel it!
Tell me: As a consumer, what do you value most? Is it good service, nice design or simply the lowest price? Please leave a comment!
P.S. We’re proud to announce that zistemo has been awarded the prestigious honor of both the Great User Experience & Rising Star Awards from FinancesOnline. All thanks to you, beloved customer! Wait, what? You have not signed up yet? Please do. It’s free.