I feel sort of obligated before I start out to mention that I can be a bit emotional when it comes to customer relationships. Having more than once been called out as the “office Pollyanna”, it’s no secret I prefer harmony when it comes to my everyday relationships. Is it a shock, then, to find out I also feel strongly about the most important relationship a business manages on a day to day basis (Hint: that’s the relationship a business has with its customers)? Of course not.
Let me be really clear though. That doesn’t mean I don’t also value sharp strategy and many of the latest digital marketing tools. I want to grow sales, I want to improve market share, and I want a brand that’s stronger at the close of every business day. It just happens to mean I also believe the best way to do that is to make life better for our clients.
Digital analyst Brian Solis summed it up well when he said the first part of customer experience is defining what you want a relationship with your customer to look and feel like. The next step, of course, is making sure that the customer sees the relationship in the same light.
Because of course this is the actual customer experience, not just the experience we hope our customers are having.
The great news is that we have more tools than ever at our disposal to make that experience what we want it to be. The difficult part is understanding how to prioritize the lessons we’re learning every day, because as we all know there’s a lot of data to go around. Without analysis, that data isn’t worth a whole lot on its own. We also need to take the time to learn what our customers need, what they want, and figure out how we can give that to them.
Our clients are frequently surprised when we ask a lot of questions in our initial meetings that have to do with their customers’ journeys and where they may be experiencing roadblocks, frustrations, or other negative feelings about their interactions with the brand. These may not be strictly related to the traditional marketing touchpoints they’re accustomed to discussing in a meeting about marketing strategy or a new digital marketing campaign. But it’s these questions that can help us discover ways to improve the customer experience from initial contact through after-sale service, so they can enjoy the kinds of customer relationships they want to have.
Whether your marketing is focused on finding new customers or you are intent on keeping the customers you already have (or, even better – a combinations of both!) the intelligence tools are there. It’s what we do with them that counts.