Could Customer Experience Be as Simple as a Light Post?
by Joe Martin
posted on 05-04-2017
What creates a great customer experience? Is it a good interaction with customer service or, perhaps, a mobile website or app? Is it personalized messaging? Or, maybe, it’s something else entirely. In a recent survey, Gartner revealed that 89 percent of marketers expect customer experience to be their primary differentiator by 2017 — an increase from 30 percent in 2010. With this growing reliance on customer experience, what can brands possibly do both to improve theirs and make theirs stand out above the rest? I recently, as a consumer, enjoyed some great experiences that demonstrate just what being an Experience Business truly means.
How Simple, Everyday Light Posts Lit the Way to Unforgettable Customer Experiences
Earlier this year, I had an opportunity to present at a conference in Walt Disney World. My family and I arrived at the Magic Kingdom Park a few days early. For myself and many others, Disney fully immerses every customer in an experience, which is why I think first-time guests have a 70 percent return rate.
So, how does one of the most valued brands in the world create an experience? Like many companies, Disney nails the big impacts within its parks — the castle, the characters, the lands, the entertainment, the rides, and even the ambiance. To truly have a Disney-level experience, you need to look at the details. During my recent trip, the light posts were what genuinely caught my eye — yes, the light posts. After visiting numerous amusement parks in my lifetime — none of which focused much attention on the paint covering the railings and light posts — I appreciated the flawless, chip-free sparkle of the paint that demonstrated the extra effort Disney puts into creating its experiences.
Three Potential Light Posts Your Business Can Use to Shine Its Own Light
Following are three potential light posts your business can use to create a truly remarkable customer experience.
1. Social Media
A recent survey from J.D. Power and Associates shows that 67 percent of consumers use a company’s social media site for their customer service needs — meaning, social media has become your first line of defense for both customer complaints and opportunities to create memorable experiences.
Last year, I tweeted about enjoying some Nesquik even as a full-grown adult. The tweet had some good engagement, and I received a nice response from the brand. They sent me a direct message to get my address, followed by a boxful of Nesquik coupons and products — creating a much more loyal fan out of me after that one simple interaction.
2. Content Strategy
We are continuously inundated with new content — Facebook data shows there are approximately 2.5 million posts every minute. There certainly is a lot of content noise, but engaging content can be an effective way to generate business. According to a study from the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing costs 62 percent less than outbound marketing and generates more than three times as many leads. Jeff Barrett — Inc contributor, social influencer, and recent Adobe Summit Insider — had this to say about content strategy:
Easier access creates greater competition. It’s like the line for $1 sub day at Jimmy John’s. But you can skip ahead in this line. 1. Find the quickest way to a million followers. Chances are you don’t have that reach but other people do. Keep attracting influencers to work with you until you reach that mark rather than waiting the years it would take to grow that reach. 2. Determine the end result before you even begin. What do you want this strategy to yield? Purchases, brand loyalty, visibility? So many brands feel rushed to act and forget this step. Notice I didn’t mention content? It’s important but if you create the best content without a goal (Old Spice) or without enough people to see it (Brand You’ve Never Heard Of) it will never work.
3. Customer Research
To provide a good experience, you need to understand your customer. With the right research, you can provide a great experience that feels personalized. Brands like Adobe, McDonalds, Apple, Nest, and many other large companies use consistent surveys, usage data, social listening, and other research methods to consistently improve their products, jump on current trends, and prepare for the future.
Marriott has provided these individual experiences for me countless times. Several years ago, I jokingly tweeted to a Marriott about how I loved Andes Mints on my pillow at night. Since sending that one note, I have received an Andes mint every night of my visit — sometimes bags of them, in the case of the World Center Marriott that hosted me during my recent Disney stay. That seemingly small customer interaction — built from the research they have collected about me — is what makes me remain a loyal customer to their brand anytime I travel.
In this continuously expanding, tech-driven world, experiences are what will separate you from the crowd. It is important to focus on the big castle that initially attracts customers to your product, but you may find it’s the light posts that truly create the experience. Whatever your light post might be — social media, content strategy, customer research, or something entirely different — make sure you put a little extra care to give it that Disney sparkle.