Customer experience is quite the buzz right now. I have been thinking about this customer experience stuff for quite some time. Everywhere you look a company or brand is attempting to create some extraordinary customer experience.
Just like when the recession hit in 2008 companies heavily discounted everything and consumers became spoiled by deeply discounted products. Coupons were all the rage; still are. JC Penney comes to mind — it had a CEO migration, and the new guy wanted better profit margin so coupons went away. Well, so, too, did the customers!
Now every consumer expects to have a special experience when they shop for a product or service or enter a retail establishment.
Nordstrom is catering to millennial’s with a shop in a shop experience. Realtors on Fifth Avenue are looking to invite workers to get a mani-pedi after work and stay longer in the building in which they lived all day.
On my Heart of Marketing podcast, John Gregory Olson and I did an episode about yoga in aisle five. Apparently grocers are putting yoga class in the grocery store so moms can shop and do yoga all in one convenient location. Hmm, what do you think of that?
Is Customer Experience Authentic?
I am troubled by all this new activity to earn the loyalty of customers. Is it authentic?
We consumers are truly a fickle lot. You know that today we relish being put on the top of the totem (which could be construed as the bottom if you know your totem lore), and tomorrow we might just become simply bored.
So what’s a company to do?
- Create a new experience for a very old product and make it new and memorable. You’ll need to cater to customer wants and needs. Sometimes you have to cater to a customer who doesn’t even know they want something. Confusing, right?
- Whatever you create to earn customer loyalty and attention has to be remarkable, memorable, fun, and engaging.
- Think like you want to disrupt your category — be the upstart and changeling. Do something drastic so others follow you.
Here’s an idea let’s say the shower door company is at the home show at the convention center.
How do you get the consumer to come to your booth and spend 10 minutes?
Well, you put them in a raincoat, give them an umbrella and some galoshes, and invite them in to test the shower. Maybe your product is being cross marketed with the shower head seller. let them stand under there a minute and test the fitting of the cool shower door you’re selling. Before they step out, pass them your uniquely created squeegee to nicely clean the glass. Meanwhile, you’re showing how simple it is to treat the glass with your very own raincoat product so there will never be any streaks.
Because you’re selling a squeegee and raincoat for the shower door, which is highly unremarkable, you created a customer experience that is memorable. You took a video for your own YouTube channel, and you took an image of them in your shower with their camera that gets posted to Facebook. This is customer experience that is fun, memorable, and makes for user-generated content!
Have You Heard Of Casper?
Casper is the online mattress company that has about 500 5-star reviews and a lovely website. It is a disrupter in that it sells mattresses online.
Casper invested a lot of time and effort to study human behavior and mattress design. It encourages new customers to take a video of the unfolding/un-boxing of the mattress when it is shipped to the door. Why are people inclined to purchase a mattress offline when they never got to lie on it?
That is the fascinating thing about customer experience!
You never have to choose which street corner you go to, because there is a mattress retailer on ever damn street corner and strip mall. Instead, you go online to Casper.com, read the reviews about the customer experience and satisfaction, watch the YouTube videos, tinker back and forth about the price (and the excellent return policy), and you press a button — DONE! From the comfort of your home, you’ve saved the hassle from the shopping experience and made your purchase in one hour versus five.
The point here is this if you have a category in which you compete that is over loaded with competitors like a mattress store on every corner or a saloon that sells craft beer every three blocks then you have to do something more strategic and creative to get the attention of the customer.
Be Clever To Create Customer Experience That Lasts
Think cleverly about how to create that experience so the customer believes in your brand and product. You want the customer to keep coming back to see what’s next. You keep tossing the bait with something new, memorable and fun in a series of fun and experiential marketing strategies. The person who becomes a customer will talk and share on social media and encourage others to show up.
And, finally, is your business heartful? Do you have a heart core in your business with high value and purpose in a culture that highly regards employees and customers?
There are so many buzzwords that deny the exploitation of the customer experience, and these are:
- Truth and transparency
You Might Like: Kings Of Customer Experience
Our podcast is The Heart of Marketing. In this episode, we go up, down and around with a story from Fast Company. We share the customer experience philosophies of Warby Parker and Union Square Hospitality Group (which owns Shake Shack, btw).
Pretty much I do a lot of pondering in this episode, and it may be that I come across disjointed. John Gregory Olson stays the course as we share about Neil Blumenthal of Warby Parker and Danny Meyer of Union Square Hospitality.