Customer Experience: The Competitive Battlefield for Brands.
There is no question your brand must invest in mobile responsive design and content marketing, but in 2017 one of the most critical areas to focus on to differentiate and create a competitive advantage is your brand’s customer experience.
“Customer experience is the next competitive battleground. It’s where business is going to be won or lost.” – Tom Knighton
Brands we all know and love put customers at the center, making them stand out in the marketplace. And they don’t just grow, they thrive. Putting customers first is at the heart of brands like Zappos, Nordstrom and Disney.
Five Tips for Improving Your Brand’s Customer Experience
Tip #1 | Make Decisions Based on Data.
Invest in capturing customer insights – both qualitative (talk to them) and quantitative (survey them). Understanding the customer is critical to create an experience that resonates with them – across their journey. Data moves leadership teams away from opinions and discussions to making informed, strategic decisions – which in turn leads to better relationships with customers. (Note: In the process of capturing customer data you should expect to uncover some of their unmet needs, which could lead to future products and innovations!)
Tip #2 | Get to Know Your Customers Through Creating Personas.
Do employees truly understand who they are serving? Personas act as a strategic tool for enlivening your company’s distinct customer segments. The customer profiles are created based on the data you capture about them. Personas are an engaging way to communicate and train internal stakeholders and employees – and help them to understand the customer and how best to interact with the different personas.
Tip #3 | Map Out the Customer Journey.
Invest the time and resources to map out your customer’s journey. The journey represents the key interactions between your brand and your customers (the good and the bad). Does it start with a customer being inspired by a beautiful image of carpet on Instagram? Or, do they learn about your solution through a tradeshow? Based on these interactions and the series of them, where is there opportunity for improvement?
Tip #4 |Invest in Usability Testing Before Launching a New Experience.
Before launching new digital experiences, invest in usability testing – a method for testing your designs before launching them. It’s the best way to understand how users – those representative of your customers – perceive a design and experience, whether it is a mobile app for purchasing a commercial vehicle or a new website supporting payment solutions for SMBs. Are they able to find the information they seek and complete the tasks they set out to accomplish?