Customers don’t just purchase products or services. They experience them. I wrote last week about how my experience of getting my car repaired was about much more than how well those repairs were done.
However, not many companies are focused on how their customer experiences are impacting their customers (unless they really blow it, and multiple blogs and YouTube videos pick it up).
The customer experience encompasses all aspects of a customer’s interaction with us. It spans the sales, the packaging, the “out of box” experience (opening the product), the registration and installation/set-up, the usage, and the ongoing maintenance of the product or service (think PCs). Or, in retail, it spans the in-store experience of the shelf displays, the size of the aisles, the crazy wheels on the shopping cart, the employees, the restrooms, the check-out lines and clerks, and the ease of returns. In service, it spans the sales, the installation, the usage, the subscription, the monthly bills, and the upgrades (think cable/satellite TV). Take a moment now and think of what this looks like for your company and your industry!
In the above-described customer lifecycle scenarios, many departments are responsible for the customer experience, including marketing, sales, R&D, manufacturing, customer service, field service, as well as training. Thus the entire company plays a role in “marketing”, yet each of them has their own areas of expertise which they need to bring to the table in order to design the optimal customer experience.
“Good marketing is any effort by a company/ individual/ association/ etc to DIRECTLY satisfy the wants and needs of its customer.” I don’t think it has to get any more complicated than that.
But the hitching point is that ‘directly’ part. Most marketers want to satisfy their OWN wants and needs directly, and let satisfying the customer be a byproduct. Turning it around and using your marketing as a tool to directly satisfy the wants and needs of the community takes a pretty big leap of marketing faith.
When we focus on how many customers we can market our products to, we are focusing on our own wants and needs directly (sell more, get better leads, improve marketing campaign ROI). When we focus on which products and services we can sell to each customer, we are focusing on meeting customer wants and needs.
In other words, rather than focusing on increasing our market share and marketing ROI, we focus on increasing our customer share-of-wallet and value of each customer. These latter measures are often left out of board room discussions but are essential for truly understanding the health of our customer base.
Once we understand our customer’s wants and needs, we can begin to market to them through the customer experience. CustomersRock! companies create a strategy for a consistent, satisfying customer experience across the entire customer lifecycle. Tomorrow, I will continue with part two of this series and begin to look at the various stages of the customer lifecycle as well as ideas for optimizing the customer experience at each customer touch point.
(Photo credit: D. Carroll)