Customer experience

Customer Experience Focus is a Strategic Brand Differentiator

Nowadays, there is a lot of talk about customer experience. Aside from a strong product offering, it is customer experience that can help differentiate a business. Nico Nanninga, Regional Implementation Manager, APAC at The Warranty Group shares his views on how customer experience can change business scenario.

Competition is all around, and technological advancements allow for innovative ways that create the illusion of more intimate brand-customer relationships. Customer experience is motivated not only by rational argument (“what do I think of the brand”), but also very much the emotional sensations that arise from interacting with a business (“how does it make me feel”).

Brands that have customer experience in their DNA benefit from being able to conjure up positive and strong emotional feelings. Their customers would not only agree that the product is inherently strong, but would also concur about how good these companies make them feel. It’s the replacement cup of coffee you received when you clumsily dropped your cup a few meters outside the coffee shop. It’s the car showroom receptionist who assisted you when your car broke down, by not only calling for roadside tech, but also personally driving you to your intended destination. Small gestures that go a long way!

A customers’ journey today does not only happen via in-store staff interactions, but also through websites and social media when exploring what to buy, email responses received when making a reservation, or how they were treated by a dealer network that maintains customers’ vehicles.

Customers now have an abundance of choices. Social media has fully emancipated customers; review sites will tell them exactly what your brand value is. So how do companies ensure a consistent client experience across all channels? How does this align with your corporate strategy? How can a company be more customer-oriented? These are the questions that customers like me pay attention to when listening to clients, and when working to implement solutions that are painstakingly designed for an optimal client experience. Irrespective of how advanced the product or solution is that we are implementing, if it is not congruent with the brand promise, it will fail.

Mapping the customer journey helps an organisation identify, analyse and adjust every single touchpoint a client can have with a company. It allows the organisation to see the customer’s point of view and see things from his angle as well as its own.

A customer journey map is not created in isolation. All of the teams and product groups need to get involved. Start by appointing client experience ambassadors from all parts of the organisation. Imagine what terrific insights the customers themselves can share! Create a method that captures customer feedback across all interaction channels and then take a step back. Put yourselves in the customer’s shoes, identify ways in which you can better meet those expectations. Use both your rational left brain, as well as your emphatic right brain.

Identify all the contact points, list all moments of truths (the situations that make or break the entire experience) and pain points for the customers. Review all processes linked to these areas and identify the people in charge of making the necessary changes. Never lose sight of how customers “feel” when going through this process and accurately pinpoint their objectives and priorities at any given stage of the journey. The end result should be a clear, simple and visual map of what you want your customers to experience.

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