Ever spent money at a business and left thinking…
Me too. Rather disappointing. Bored even. They didn’t do anything wrong; they just didn’t do anything “else”.
The auto shop fixed the car.
The restaurant provided a meal.
The retailer sold me the item I wanted.
Nothing to tell friends about, no reason to go racing back, will likely drop of the radar.
People do business with people they know, like, and trust. Relationship marketing is all about building those connections and creating memorable customer experiences. When you take the time to get to know your customers and give them something special, they will be more likely to return more frequently and recommend your business to others. The result is more transactions, more spending per transaction and more revenue. Suddenly, logic is no longer the deciding factor in a purchases, emotion is.
Ivan Wicksteed, CMO at Old Navy, said, “It’s the emotional connections that a brand makes; the emotional memories, the emotional triggers that you spark that last the longest and go the deepest.”
That’s a tough thing to focus on when you are overwhelmed with staffing challenges, cost increases, supply shortages and are still in recovery mode. Now is the time to be efficient and cut out waste. But don’t do it at the expense of what your customers want the most and that brings them back again and again.
Why Customer Experience Matters
Memorable experiences are important for your customers because they help to create a connection with your business and improve customer loyalty. Relationship marketing is all about building connections with your customers and creating relationships that are beneficial for both sides. Great customer experiences are one of the best ways to do this, because they help to create a lasting impression that will make customers more likely to return in the future.
To give yourself a competitive advantage you need to differentiate yourself from the crowd by going to the extra effort of offering the human touch during every transaction your customers have with your business.
There are a few aspects to consider to make sure your customers have a positive experience with your business.
- First, focus on creating an emotional connection with them. This can be done by providing excellent customer service and making sure they feel valued and appreciated. Find a way to know who your best customers are, by name, and ensure all your staff can recognize them. This can easily be done with elite loyalty program status, or on redeemed marketing campaigns that note their importance.
- Second, focus on creating physical connections by using sensory elements such as sight, sound, smell, touch, and taste. Consider all the ways your customers experience your business and improve anything that might have a negative impact. Dirty bathrooms, sticky floors, loud music, overflowing garbage – it all impacts the customer experience.
- Finally, focus on creating social connections by encouraging customers to interact with each other and with you. Use a Rewards Program, regular email communication, add video content and use all your social media platforms.
Rosetta data shows that engaged and satisfied customers buy 50% more often, spend 200% more each year and are 5X more likely to display brand loyalty than those who are not.
People want something more than just a transaction, something more than a quality product or service. They want to know they have value to you, as much as you have value to them. They want an emotional connection.
How Would You Provide A Memorable Customer Experience
- Surprise and delight customers – Your bar can’t just be “good customer service” – look for ways to add to the customer experience that is unexpected, something that makes it easier or faster, something that makes their visit unique, that they can’t get anywhere else.
- Aim for creating pleasurable emotions – Friends are built on trust and the same goes for the relationship between customers. Humor and laughter are great emotions to create connection as are nostalgia, curiosity, accomplishment, safety, well-being, and belonging.
- Hire employees for the soft skills – Your team is the face of your business with their customer interactions. When you are hiring, look the intangible skills that create connection between people: awareness, empathy, emotional intelligence, emotional control, problem solving, communication skills and social awareness.
- Train your team well and give them agency (and parameters) to solve problems on the spot or provide something that goes the extra mile and surprises and delights without needing permission.
- Anticipate customer needs – hone your ability to put yourself in your customers shoes, know who they are, their unique needs, and what they need that goes beyond your core product and services.
- Listen to customer feedback – provide a way for them to feel safe enough to give you constructive, honest feedback that isn’t published publicly. Let them know you are paying attention by telling them how you’ve improved due to their feedback.
- Deal with negative reviews and mistakes respectfully and effectively – this is a great opportunity to go above and beyond to win over a disappointed customer.
- Focus your marketing on building a relationship – retain the customers that already know and like you – this is where the money is. It costs relatively little to get a happy customer to return again and again, so use your marketing to focus on building a relationship and rewarding them for their customer loyalty.
- Under promise and over deliver – it’s an old phrase but a useful one. You are JUST providing meals, or repairing cars, or selling clothes. You are solving problems, providing nourishment, safety, confidence – exceeding customers’ expectations makes all the difference.
Your Bucket Is Leaking Without Amazing Experiences
Your marketing effort and dollars are wasted if you are continually pouring new customers into your business, only to have them have a bad experience, or worse yet, a mediocre one, where they just fade away.
If it’s not a memorable experience, people aren’t going to tell other people, they aren’t going to return, and they may not even remember your business. It certainly won’t create customer loyalty. They get poured into your customer bucket, only to flow out of the leaky holes, lost forever due to lack interest. All you are doing with really good marketing is speeding up the rate in which people find out that you’re boring, or no good.
Spend the time and effort to create a memorable experience for every person that comes into your business, otherwise you are only a commodity that they can get from any other business that provides the same product or service.