Your Customer Experience Is Your Brand

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Often, when we talk about customer experience, our focus is on the delivery of services, support, and customer success touchpoints. But customer experience is more than a post-sale strategy. The customer experience you deliver is your brand promise in practice. 

Your customer experience strategy can’t be siloed to the end of the customer journey. It must be threaded throughout every phase of the customer’s journey with your brand.

  • It’s how you deliver value and prove early on that you prioritize purpose over profit.
  • It’s how you demonstrate customers’ influence on your product roadmap and how you help customers realize success using your product.
  • It’s how you deliver on the pre-sale promise. 

A customer-centric approach must be an integral component of your company’s vision—from what you build to how you ensure success. 

Research points to a disconnect between companies and customers 

80% of companies fail within the first 2-3 years. And despite the infinite access to information and learnings, there still seems to be a disconnect between what we deliver and what our customers expect. The experience you provide your customers is the difference between a customer staying and leaving. 

This means there is an opportunity. If we get this right, we retain customers, we build loyalty, we grow our base, and we create a brand our employees and our customers believe in. 

But according to a recent Forrester report commissioned by Khoros, brands are out of touch with how often customers have bad brand experiences. 

Most concerning about this, according to the report: 

These poor experiences are frustrating to customers, which leads them to take decisive economic action against the brand: 67% have told others about their bad experience; 65% have switched to a different brand, and 65% stop purchasing from the brand.

There’s perception (how companies view themselves), and then there is reality (how customers view your company). Companies are pumping significant resources into establishing their brand promise and carefully articulating their vision. But if the experiences that our customers are having with our brand don’t deliver on these promises, the work is futile. 

Who we are is defined by what we do and how we deliver for our customers. 

This means that we must pay attention to what our customers are saying about their experience with our company and our products, in areas that include customer support, social media, and churn. As potential customers are searching for new solutions, what will they learn about your company through their research? 

Great marketing drives clicks, but the stories your customers tell about their experience with your company or product drive conversions. 

If there’s a trend in your feedback that calls out poor customer service or issues with product delivery, these are are non-starters for many potential buyers. In a world where every company claims to be the best, customers are looking to their peers for direction and confirmation. 

According to a report by Bain and Company 

 Most companies assume they’re consistently giving customers what they want. Usually, they’re kidding themselves. When we recently surveyed 362 firms, we found that 80% believed they delivered a “superior experience” to their customers. But when we then asked customers about their own perceptions, we heard a very different story. They said that only 8% of companies were really delivering.

Of course, organizations are aware of how important the customer experience is to retain customers. However, we continue to see siloed marketing and experience operations as if the post-sale experience doesn’t directly impact presale interest. Boosting customer satisfaction not only impacts customer retention, but it also impacts how customers talk about you and how willing they are to recommend your company to their networks. 

Using Online Review Sites to Close the Perception Gap 

One of the easiest ways to close the perception gap and understand how customers are talking about their experience with your company is to evaluate feedback on online review sites—where potential customers are researching you and your competitors with intent to purchase. 

Customer feedback on review sites gives you quick visibility into areas where you may be missing the mark. Conversely, paying attention to customer expectations on these sites will also point to where things are going right so that you can understand what’s working and do more of that. 

While every piece of customer feedback is important, the overall trends in the customer’s experience tell a more complete story. Identifying the feedback trends will help you understand the difference between a single negative experience versus common themes impacting a broader spectrum of your customer base, which should ultimately result in improved customer loyalty. 

Implementing Voice of the Customer Analytics 

The more feedback there is about your organization, the more effort it takes to understand the root cause of declining sales or NPS scores. 

In most cases, this means product marketing or customer experience management (CXM) professionals are aggregating customer feedback from disparate systems, exporting feedback from online review sites, then building manual excel views to identify spikes or trends in customer needs. This process alone makes doing right by our customers difficult. 

Loop makes identifying trends easy. Using natural language processing, Loop is eliminating the manual effort that was previously required to extract meaningful insights from customer feedback, so that CX and marketing leaders can proactively identify issues impacting retention and sales, and pivot company initiatives to address them. 

Your brand is built on how you respond to these feedback trends. Listen – what are customers saying about your company, product, or services? Understand – what are the biggest drivers impacting these feedback trends? Is feedback concentrated around company changes, outages, or product updates? Act – what steps need to be taken in order to respond to this feedback? 

The concept is simple. It’s not a revolutionary to say that our long term success is built on our ability to deliver on the promises we make to customers, leading to great customer experiences overall. Putting this into practice, however, takes work. The brands that thrive will be the ones who put their focus on where the customer’s voice is.

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