As a consumer, have you ever had such a good experience with a company that you would never even think about switching to a competitor?
This is called a positive customer experience.
And is definitely something every business should guarantee for its clients.
In this guide, we’ll go over what customer experience marketing entails, why it is so important to your brand, and how others are making it work.
What is Customer Experience Marketing?
In a more formal sense, customer experience marketing is a specific type of brand strategy that puts the needs of your buyer personas and the act of providing value ahead of simply making sales.
It is a specific strategy designed to greatly improve brand loyalty, boost social proof, and make the overall customer experience journey longer by increasing the number of interactions.
Essentially, customer experience marketing is about putting the needs of your client ahead of the interests of the company.
What is the Difference Between Customer Service and Customer Experience Marketing?
In short, the customer service process starts the moment a client needs assistance with a particular issue or in answering a question.
While customer service is part of the customer experience, it is not all-encompassing.
Rather, customer experience starts the moment the buyer becomes aware of your brand and doesn’t stop after service issues are resolved.
What Are the Advantages of Customer Experience Marketing?
Customer experience marketing is one of those things that every company knows they need to have a strategy to address, yet so few actually do.
This is unfortunate, as the benefits definitely outweigh the effort in terms of what a good relationship with your customers can do to grow your company.
Need some examples?
Higher customer retention
Brands that have a positive customer experience process don’t have to compete with others in the same niche as often.
Their good reputation and high level of service are usually enough to create massive customer retention.
Higher customer lifespan
Customers who are happy often come back to brands they like to make subsequent purchases, which lengthens the customer lifespan.
Positive customer interactions often lead to higher sales and increased revenue, as they’re much more likely to share their recommendation with friends and family members.
Customers who feel they’re getting value from your brand and that their needs are met are also more apt to leave a positive review or testimonial, which can also increase sales due to the power of social proof.
As you can see, those are some pretty powerful advantages that would make any company decide to up their effort when it comes to always providing a positive customer experience.
Customer Experience Marketing Best Practices
Keeping all that in mind, how do you actually offer a positive customer experience?
Here are a few best practices to consider.
1. Be True to Your Word
When it comes to customers, companies have to always be true to their word.
This means doing what you say you’re going to do, when you say you’re going to do it.
For example, if you tell an eCommerce shopper that you’ll have their package to them in two days, make sure that your company does everything in its power to make it happen.
In service fields, show up when you say you’ll arrive and perform the task you’re hired to complete as expected.
If there’s a situation where it isn’t feasible to do what you’ve promised to do, make sure you’re communicating with the customer.
Most people are incredibly understanding about delays or issues as long as they know the reason behind it.
2. Go Above and Beyond When Possible
Customers today have a lot of choices.
However, they’re much more likely to stick with a single brand when they know the company is going above and beyond to provide the best possible experience.
Train your staff to look for indicators of what would delight and inspire customers.
Often, it is the little things that make an interaction with a brand pleasant.
As the face of the company, your employees are presented with opportunities every single day to give your clients the experience they want — or, in some cases, the one they didn’t know they wanted but it made them happy anyway.
3. Have a Customer Service Plan
Customer service is about far more than answering phone calls and taking care of complaints.
That’s why companies must have a process to address needs in a timely and organized fashion.
For large organizations, this might mean having a dedicated customer service team that checks messaging on a daily basis.
Smaller companies could outsource this or delegate the task to one specific person.
Likewise, it is also important to review any public forums for testimonials and reviews on a regular basis.
Address and respond to all customer responses, even if it is just a thank you for a positive review on Google or Facebook.
4. Address Concerns in a Timely Fashion
In addition, it is vital to always address concerns within a timely fashion.
Time is an enemy when it comes to customer experience marketing — the longer a customer has to wait for an answer, the bigger the problem becomes.
If you aren’t able to give them the information they need in a hurry, an update is usually fine.
Most people just want to be heard, which is why it is important to have strong communication skills to really ensure the customer experience is positive in the end.
5. Strive to Be More Than Just a Company
Finally, companies that really know how to embrace customer experience marketing work to be more than just a company.
They usually have some sort of brand initiative, give back to the local community, or find ways to become innovators in their respective industries.
Today’s world is incredibly fast-paced and busy.
The more you can work to give back, the better you’re able to outshine your competition and the more supportive your customers will be for the long-term.
Building a Customer Experience Marketing Strategy
Now that you know the importance of having a strong customer experience marketing strategy, let’s look at ways you can make this happen for your organization.
While your path might vary based on the niche you’re in or how your target market typically responds, each step is generally universal.
Step One: Think in Terms of Value and Education
Where most companies go wrong with customer experience marketing is that they don’t think about their ideal buyer persona’s needs.
The first step in crafting a winning strategy is to step back and think about who you’re trying to attract and what you can do to help.
Offering an online educational database about your industry or product, providing free tools, or giving useful advice via your blog all show that you’re committed to their success, whether they ultimately purchase from your company or not.
Step Two: Review Data & Make Changes
You might not think analytics have anything to do with the customer experience, but they do.
Most tools and platforms offer tons of data about consumer behavior, which gives you an unspoken way to learn about the patterns of your customers.
Pay close attention to this information and make adjustments accordingly.
If there is something glaring that keeps coming up, take care to really improve the issue so that it is totally resolved for everyone.
Step Three: Ask for Input
Perhaps the best way to improve your customer experience marketing strategy is getting input straight from the source.
Customers are usually quite pleased to provide feedback on their experience with your company if you give them a small token in value as an exchange for their time.
For example, a coupon code or a small free item in exchange for an honest opinion is a great way to gain testimonials you can use in various aspects of your marketing campaigns.
Where a lot of companies go wrong is they simply forget to ask for this information, which means they never get that valuable feedback.
Instead, ensure you have a plan for this process.
Step Four: Train Your Team Accordingly
As we previously mentioned, your employees are the face of your business.
If they aren’t on the same page in regards to offering a positive customer experience, then you’ll have a hard time making this happen.
Use training tools to ensure your team is doing everything possible to create a positive customer experience.
In some cases, this might be a customer service agent who regularly communicates with your clients providing top-notch assistance.
Or it could even be someone in your manufacturing department who never meets the customer, but knows their job ultimately determines if a product is well-liked by your target base.
By reminding them on a regular basis that their contribution matters, you can improve the overall customer experience in the long run.
Step Five: Use Automation
Yes, it is possible to use customer experience marketing without stretching yourself too thin.
There are tons of great automation platforms out there that make it easy to follow up with clients, ask for reviews, or even see if they have questions before making a purchase decision.
Whether you simply want to up your engagement on social media or automate abandoned cart emails for your online store, these tools are a great way to make it happen.
Customer Experience Marketing Examples
If you’re looking for examples of companies who understand the positive power of customer experience marketing, we’ve gathered a few that our Rock Content team found exceptional.
The online pet retailer has long been known for its positive customer experience process.
Not only do they regularly send out handwritten cards for birthdays, they have also been known to send flowers to autoship customers who call in to cancel due to the death of a canine companion or feline friend.
While the gesture itself is touching, it proves that going the extra mile for a customer — whether that’s a grieving pet parent or someone else — can create immense brand loyalty for the long haul.
When most people think about the company’s small and colorful bricks, they fondly remember playing for hours as a child.
Or as a fun-loving adult, too!
But part of what has made the toy manufacturer such a lasting brand is its commitment to positive customer experiences over multiple decades.
When customers either lose or notice a brick is missing from a set, they can write to the company and have new ones sent for free.
But they don’t just stop there. Each response is crafted based on the situation and customized to the customer’s unique context.
While individual customers might have something to say about a certain local barista, the company as a whole uses social media to try to improve customer service.
They are known for using empathy in their responses and the occasional bit of humor.
Furthermore, they’re widely known for reaching out to those who have had a bad experience and offering an incentive for a second chance to make it right.
While this might seem like a small gesture, from a brand loyalty perspective it is an excellent way to keep customers walking through the door.
Wrap Up: Using Positive Customer Experience Marketing to Improve Brand Loyalty
Loyal customers are the key to company longevity.
If you’re looking to increase sales and improve your brand image, now is the time to implement some of the tips we’ve included here.
One additional way to do this?
Through content marketing that delights and inspires, which is something we cover in this issue of Rock Content Magazine!