Customers at the Core

“There is only one boss. The customer. And he can fire everyone from the chairman down, simply by spending his money elsewhere.” – Sam Walton 1977

For any brand to be successful, they need to place customers first. They need to place customer needs and desires above their own needs and desires. Brands need to move away from the old inside-out approach. They can’t assume they know exactly what their target and prospective customers want from them. Brands need to do their homework to analyze what it is that their customer’s truly desire from them and deliver upon those desires through effective experiences.

Customers (you and I) — not the brands — are in the driver’s seat. We make the decisions and we can impact the decisions of others based on our experiences with a brand. With this power comes pretty high expectations. For brands to become customer-first companies, they need to truly understand how the customer has engaged with their brand before, their perspective of the brand, things they like and dislike, what they want from the brand and more.

customertweets

Creating effective customer experiences is critical to business success, brand loyalty and brand value. There are many things that brands need to do to make sure they model their business around the customer and cater to their needs. Some of these things include:

1. Leadership and employee buy in and engagement:
The leadership of brands and all the employees connected to that brand (all departments from IT to HR, Marketing to Customer Service) need to be on the same page about how they view their customers and the experience they wish to deliver. What is happening inside a company is almost always communicated to the outside customer. Everyone on the inside needs to be on the same page.

2. Understanding the customer journey:
Brands need to know what their customer journey looks like. They need to map out the emotional and functional journey customers take when considering to purchase or connect deeper with the brand. Customers take different paths and brands need to determine which touch points are most impactful and effective. Brands need to know where customers encounter obstacles on their journey and how they should respond to these obstacles. Mapping out the customer journey can help brands see where they can make refinements to create more effective experiences.

3. Knowing the HOW and the WHAT:
Brands need to understand HOW their customers are connecting with them (which channels) and WHAT they are accessing or looking for from them (the content). Knowing this, brands can design and execute effective customer experiences using various technologies and tactics that make sense. Without knowing the HOW and the WHAT, brands can waste some serious time and money.

4. Listen, listen, listen:
Brands can learn the HOW and the WHAT by listening to their customers and prospective customers. Brands need to pay attention to what people are saying about their brand, their customer service, their products/services and more. Brands can also learn a lot by listening to their competitors and customers loyal to their competitors. Setting up listening campaigns can really help brands design and develop effective customer experiences.

These are just a few tips when it comes to crafting an effective customer experience. If you are looking for more insights, you may want to attend our 2014 Integrated Marketing Forum that will focus solely on customer experience. At our #2014IMF, Ford, Taco Bell, The OC Register, Cisco, HubSpot and others will share how they have built their brands around delivering effective customer experiences. Save the date for the 2014 Integrated Marketing Forum: 11/20/14. Stay connected to Rhythm for more details.

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