A 6-Step Process To An Amazing Customer Experience

Carla Johnson

Without a doubt, the race to create distinguishing customer experiences is on. With that being the case, however, it’s puzzling as to why many companies struggle with it.

To be honest, getting momentum behind the movement isn’t easy, but companies are succeeding. Marriott Hotels is an excellent example. Their #TravelBrilliantly campaign taps customers and influencers and helps the brand move away from a transaction mindset of selling hotel rooms and into the experience approach of helping people travel brilliantly.

When we look at companies – like Marriott – that have made the shift start to create captivating experiences, the following six steps come into play:

  1. Ownership. People own what gets assigned. The first step in elevating customer experience is to make sure that someone’s responsible for it. That means committing time, budget, focus, and collaboration.
  1. Collaboration. It takes a village to create an amazing experience. It’s not just the customer-facing departments that matter – sales and marketing – but behind-the-scenes divisions such as IT, finance, and especially HR. Customer experience needs to be a well-thought out and meticulously delivered experience.
  1. Experiences. It sounds odd, but companies need to put the experience first. This is easier said than done. This is because most companies create content to help buyers buy. But this creates isolated interactions rather than a consistent experience. If we put the experience first, it forces us to look at the purpose behind all content and slough off fluff in lieu of substance.
  1. Agility. Customers change their mind on a whim. Savvy companies get that and create fluid processes that respond likewise. Instead of rigid, committee-controlled environments, companies understand that developing meaningful experiences is a process that evolves, rather than a destination.
  1. Feedback. Management expert Ken Blanchard said, “feedback is the breakfast of champions.” It’s also what fuels high-performance companies. Improving customer experiences can only happen when we understand the cause and effect of the experiences we create.
  1. Measurement. By looking at what happens across the span of the entire customer experience, companies will uncover patterns and the cause-and-effect of individual touchpoints. This means instead of looking at Web analytics and social shares, brands measure across the entire experience. This helps teams understand what has meaning to customers, and what experience performs well, rather than what piece of content performs well.

Companies have long emphasized touchpoints – the meaningful moments when prospects reach out to an organization on their way to purchase and after they become a customer. But the narrow focus on making the most of individual micro-moments can create a distorted view. For one, it can suggest that people are more content with a company than they actually are. That’s dangerous. If we look at it from another perspective, it also takes attention away from the bigger picture: the customer’s overall experience. Organizations that elegantly master the entire experience benefit from tremendous returns: greater customer satisfaction, less churn, increased revenue, and better employee satisfaction.

How can you use technology to deliver remarkable experiences in a world of evolving customer expectations? Read the free eGuide Managing Customer Relationships in the New Age of Experiences to learn how.

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About Carla Johnson

Carla Johnson helps marketers unlock, nurture, and strengthen their storytelling muscle so they can create delightful experiences. Through her consultancy, Type A Communications, she works as a trusted adviser at the highest level of blue-chip brands to establish open conversations, instill creative confidence, and inspire an environment of receptivity that develops highly priced teams and stellar business value. Carla has worked with companies such as American Express, Dell, Emerson, Motorola Solutions, VMWare, Western Union, and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on how to tap into a wellspring of ideas and unveil new ways to bring their brand stories to life in fun and captivating ways. Recognized as one of the top 20 influencers in content marketing, Carla serves as vice president of thought leadership for the Business Marketing Association, a division of the Association of National Advertisers, and is an instructor for the Content Marketing Institute and the Online Marketing Institute. A frequent speaker, Carla also writes about the future of B2B marketing, leading through innovation, and the power of storytelling for the Content Marketing Institute, Chief Content Officer magazine, CMSWire and other business and industry publications. Carla lives in Denver with her devilishly handsome husband Ron, their three children, Melinda, Abby, and Nick, two parakeets, and seven fish.