7 Customer Experience Lessons You Can Learn From Successful Brands
Providing a product or service at an agreed-upon price forms the foundation for any business venture. However, in the 21st century, it’s no longer enough to pour a solid foundation. The exponential increase in competition wrought by internet search engines has many customers looking to upgrade. Your business may need to evolve to catch up.
The most sensible response to shifting consumer habits is to focus on building brand loyalty. Companies have found that focusing on customers first has not only improved morale but also contributed to a healthier balance sheet. Here are seven customer experience lessons any business owner can take to heart.
1. Respect for privacy helps cement customer loyalty.
Your customers are OK with you knowing about their purchases, but they are growing increasingly intolerant of their data being shared. Some business owners attempt to explain away invasions of privacy by referring to their user agreements. While doing so might provide legal protection, it ignores preferences. Almost no one bothers to read your Terms and Conditions agreement.
One company has taken the increased desire for privacy seriously by providing its patients with online STI testing. Nurx products can be ordered online and testing can be done in the privacy of one’s own home. Professional, confidential handling of a sensitive matter helps build confidence in the company itself.
2. Connection and community are critical.
Kids who enjoy online gaming are typically not content to sit in the basement and have zero human contact. If there’s one thing many kids like to do more than gaming, it’s talking with friends about their gaming experience. They also enjoy hearing about upgrades and new products.
PlayStation figured out that attempting to control the conversations kids have with each other about gaming was futile. Instead, they embraced the fact that gamers like to talk with each other.
The company used chat as a tool to help build a larger community around their platform. They also discovered that not attempting to control the narrative led to a continuous improvement in their product line. This afforded them an opportunity to “listen in.”
3. Personalization demonstrates that you’re paying attention.
You’d think that with easy online shopping, consumers would be willing to think of themselves as a face in the crowd. However, the exact opposite is true. People are flocking to businesses that offer enhanced personalization.
Consumers who have spent time ordering items from Amazon or watching a film on Netflix have surely noticed how personalization works. Those companies have discovered the value of using artificial intelligence (AI) to run a rapid analysis of a customer’s search history.
This AI makes additional recommendations without resorting to high-pressure sales tactics. Small business owners may feel that leveraging an AI-enhanced app is not possible, but ignoring recent developments would be a mistake.
4. Money still talks.
There will always be a place in the market for businesses that offer a product or service at the lowest price. Various segments of the market are more than happy to tolerate less-than-ideal, no-frills buying in exchange for a great price. Expect Walmart and other retailers to fill stores with products bearing a price no one else can match, let alone beat.
Businesses that lack the buying power of a Walmart must continue to keep a sharp eye on pricing and value. Any business owner who sets prices in a vacuum is just asking for customers to walk.
5. Exceptional service and quality products talk louder.
Entire industries are built around the idea that customers will pay a little extra in exchange for quality products and hassle-free service. Most know they can get a fried chicken sandwich somewhere else for less money, yet Chick-fil-A sales continue to impress. The Chick-fil-A folks figured out that providing an exceptional experience at every customer touchpoint provides the key to customer loyalty.
Elsewhere in the fast good universe, Wendy’s uses quality products — not competitive pricing — as its primary focus. Fast-food enthusiasts already know that Wendy’s costs more than the competition. Nonetheless, many have reacted positively to a social media campaign that draws attention back to quality food served in a friendly environment.
6. Don’t make your prospective customers think about “how.”
Launching or revamping a website to cater primarily to the shopper holding a smartphone is now a given. The number of searches being conducted via smartphones long ago eclipsed laptops and desktop computers. Small-business owners need to be clear with their developers that a website that doesn’t work properly on mobile doesn’t work, period.
Studies have shown intolerance toward sites that force users to learn a navigation scheme when all they want to do is make a purchase. Video hosting provider Wistia.com takes the online user experience seriously. It has developed a site that sets the standard for simplicity and performance. Intuitive design is worth the investment. Visitors prefer to focus on “what,” not “how.” Frustrated visitors bounce.
7. Care about something bigger than yourself.
Younger consumers in particular are demonstrating a willingness to abandon long-loved brands that engage in irresponsible business practices. Companies that focus exclusively on profits — even those that have great products and services — risk clients falling away. This may be because they don’t seem to make a positive difference on social issues.
For example, the makers of LEGO building blocks somehow managed to position themselves as a champion for sustainable business practices. The Danish toy company’s bread and butter is manufacturing plastic products. Yet, LEGO still addresses consumer concerns so well that its environmental efforts win awards. That’s an impressive feat.
Of course, not every successful customer experience technique may work in your business setting. However, we can all learn something from both the victories and missteps of larger corporations. By adapting their principles in your setting, you can help attract new clients and keep existing customers loyal to your brand.
This article has been published in accordance withSocialnomics’ disclosure policy.