Small, large, and medium-sized companies battle every day to find new customers who will consume their products and services. However, many companies don’t realize that product features are only part of the story—they must also generate experiences and make consumers feel positive emotions.
One way to achieve this is through personalization. Each of us has our own unique style: we know what we want and how we want it. Some experiences are easier to personalize than others. In any case, personalization requires information that allows you to understand your customers and adapt to their tastes. An analysis of customers’ behaviors, tastes, and needs makes this possible. For example, IKEA allows customers to decide whether they want to assemble their own furniture or have it delivered and assembled professionally. The company also offers other conveniences, such as the option of paying at a self-checkout register.
Each experience has a particular objective and a life of its own, but the customer journey is much more effective if any given experience facilitates other linked experiences that the customer can enjoy at other times.
The importance of transversality
Another key aspect is transversality. Organizations unfamiliar with this approach will not be able to develop a true customer experience, since it affects all departments and all stages in the company’s relationship with its customers. Therefore, when we talk about the customer experience, we don’t mean isolated experiences. We mean the overall management of the sales funnel—from the moment when customers first start researching the product until the moment when they start recommending it to others. The idea is to create linked experiences that help to generate other new experiences. Each experience has a particular objective and a life of its own, but the customer journey is much more effective if any given experience facilitates other linked experiences that the customer can enjoy at other times.
Experiences must also be relevant—that is, they must clearly reflect the individual’s identity. They must respond to a motivation, generate emotions, and be aligned with the individual’s values and expectations. For example, Red Bull clearly reflects its target audience. The energy drink company perfectly transmits the identity of its customer segment: dynamic people who love challenges and tackle them passionately.
But above all else, the customer experience must be viable. It’s not enough to want to do something; you actually have to be able to do it. Companies must offer things that they are able to deliver. If they are not equipped to offer particular experiences or adapt them to their target audience, they should not go down that path, for doing so would generate ineffectiveness and inconsistency—the opposite of the desired objective.
Understanding the customer’s expectations is also of the utmost importance. No matter how well you do things, if expectations are too high, customers will be unsatisfied. The threshold must be set accordingly.
Generating certain sensations and emotional states is an essential part of creating customer experiences.
Although few companies understand the importance of emotions, generating certain sensations and emotional states is an essential part of creating customer experiences. When defining a strategy, companies must consider what actions they want to trigger.
There are ten stages involved in designing relevant, profitable customer experiences. The customer experience is not really about design, or about putting a good air freshener in your stores, or about wishing Johnny a happy birthday. Decisions about who, how, and when must be made methodically. Never skip or change the order of any of the stages in this process.
- Business objective. Without an objective, there is no customer experience. You have to know whether you want to increase your turnover, improve your gross margin, reduce your commercial and/or operational expenses, etc.
- Target segment. Focus on a segment that helps your company achieve its objective, presents business opportunities, and is aligned with your brand.
- Sales funnel management. Figure out where sales get stalled and where the business objective is going to be achieved. Use metrics and ask questions. Your interpretation of these data will enable you to make decisions.
- Architecture. Where in the sales should the experiences be located? When should they be offered? Focus on the moments that move the needle of satisfaction and dissatisfaction and lead to action.
- Information search. Gain an in-depth understanding of your customer, your company, and the environment.
- Omnichannel approach. Define your channels by considering both the type of customer and the type of company.
- Design. This key aspect is linked to all the decisions made in the previous stages.
- Implementation. Before you can proceed with implementation, you must designate a committee with well-defined responsibilities, train your teams, draw up a meeting schedule, activate your processes, prepare your technology, define your metrics, etc.
- Measurement. Measure both business and customer-satisfaction objectives.
- Monitoring. Constantly monitor the extent to which business objectives are being met and know the levels of customer satisfaction, internal awareness, and methodological compliance.
Now you just have to get started. Every day, whether you realize it or not, your customers and consumers have experiences with your brands. Every member of your company either directly or indirectly helps to create these experiences. What are you waiting for? You can do this—methodically. Customers have experiences whether you want them to or not. Take control. Your customers will be grateful—and so will your company.
© IE Insights.