Three Companies Proving Customer Experiences Do as Much as Sales to Drive Revenue

by John Watton

Posted on 05-16-2018

The link between sales and rev­enue is straight­for­ward. Prod­ucts or ser­vices go out, mon­ey comes in, and the top line goes up. For com­pa­nies that want a clear path to growth, it’s only nat­ur­al to invest direct­ly in tac­tics that boost sales directly.

Rev­enue becomes hard­er to trace when it’s dri­ven by word-of-mouth or improve­ments to the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence, both of which are less tan­gi­ble sales dri­vers. How­ev­er, these both play a major role in inspir­ing cus­tomers to engage with a brand, but only recent­ly have busi­ness­es start­ed to appre­ci­ate the extent of their impact.

Cus­tomer loy­al­ty is dif­fi­cult to secure. Com­pa­nies are learn­ing the hard way that mak­ing one sale doesn’t nec­es­sar­i­ly mean the same cus­tomer will come back for anoth­er. How­ev­er, incred­i­ble expe­ri­ences do dri­ve loy­al­ty, and across every indus­try we’re see­ing busi­ness­es adapt to this reality.

Three Suc­cess Stories

Take Every­thing Every­where (EE), the UK’s largest mobile net­work. The company’s suc­cess has large­ly been the result of its com­mit­ment to doing things dif­fer­ent­ly from the com­pe­ti­tion. Its web­site is high­ly dynam­ic, allow­ing EE to draw insights from data on sub­scriber behav­iour and adapt its online expe­ri­ence to each customer’s needs and pref­er­ences. This per­son­al­i­sa­tion has helped the oper­a­tor to bet­ter serve its 31 mil­lion sub­scribers, and just as impor­tant­ly to boost its online con­ver­sion rates.

Hotel giant Mar­riott is also doing some­thing dif­fer­ent. After rip­ping up its pre­vi­ous, frag­ment­ed mar­ket­ing strat­e­gy, it brought its 30 brands togeth­er onto a sin­gle plat­form. Today, Mar­riott can roll out per­son­alised mobile expe­ri­ences to its 100 mil­lion+ mem­bers, tap­ping into their pre­ferred means of engage­ment and deliv­er­ing unique brand expe­ri­ences that build long-term connections.

Major play­ers in the finan­cial ser­vices indus­try are also see­ing the ben­e­fits of an expe­ri­ence-led approach. The Roy­al Bank of Scot­land (RBS) is inte­grat­ing its phys­i­cal and online expe­ri­ences to deliv­er tar­get­ed, just-in-time prod­uct and ser­vice infor­ma­tion to cus­tomers on whichev­er chan­nel they pre­fer. Com­bin­ing this with advanced ana­lyt­ics has giv­en RBS a 360-degree view of each cus­tomer, allow­ing it to pro­vide more rel­e­vant expe­ri­ences and boost con­ver­sions. In the words of Giles Richard­son, Head of Ana­lyt­ics at RBS, “We don’t expect cus­tomer trust—we earn it”.

The dawn of the expe­ri­ence business

At Adobe, we’ve long believed that the future belongs to what we call “Expe­ri­ence Busi­ness”, and it’s encour­ag­ing to see these com­pa­nies prove us right. Though they serve com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent sec­tors and offer com­plete­ly dif­fer­ent ser­vices, they have all ele­vat­ed the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence to the point of mak­ing it a clear differentiator.

And they’re not alone. More organ­i­sa­tions than ever are look­ing at ways to cre­ate more per­son­alised cus­tomer expe­ri­ences. Research we con­duct­ed with For­rester revealed that com­pa­nies using Adobe in the media and enter­tain­ment indus­try cre­at­ed 40 per­cent more per­son­alised cam­paigns in 2017 than they did the pre­vi­ous year, and gen­er­at­ed 2.4 times more traffic.

An even more pleas­ant sur­prise for these organ­i­sa­tions it that this traf­fic has led to more engage­ment, with per­son­alised cam­paigns dri­ving an aver­age of 223,000 conversions.

What is an expe­ri­ence-dri­ven business?

Rough­ly 30 per­cent of EMEA enter­pris­es qual­i­fy as expe­ri­ence-dri­ven busi­ness­es[1], by which we mean they show a com­mit­ment to deliv­er­ing the best pos­si­ble cus­tomer expe­ri­ences through their peo­ple, process, and tech­nol­o­gy pillars.

These com­pa­nies may remain in the minor­i­ty, but they have proven that this approach con­tributes to healthy growth, and it’s safe to assume more busi­ness­es will fol­low their lead. Our research found that opti­mised expe­ri­ences lay at the heart of a whop­ping $128bn in cus­tomer rev­enues through 2017, a 30 per­cent increase on the pre­vi­ous year.

Expe­ri­ence-dri­ven busi­ness­es have not only seen increased con­ver­sions and a health­i­er bot­tom-line, they’ve also improved con­di­tions for their employ­ees. Expe­ri­ence runs both ways, after all. The same tac­tics organ­i­sa­tions use to per­son­alise the cus­tomer expe­ri­ence can also help them to tai­lor the work­ing expe­ri­ence to each employee’s needs and preferences.

The dis­crep­an­cy between expe­ri­ence-dri­ven busi­ness­es and their com­peti­tors is sig­nif­i­cant here too, with com­pa­nies in the for­mer group that use Adobe Tar­get say­ing they saw a 1.8X increase in employ­ee satisfaction.

Con­sumers have made it clear they care more about expe­ri­ences than things. Any busi­ness­es that focuss­es sole­ly on sales will have lit­tle chance of win­ning peo­ples’ loy­al­ty in the long term. Instead, they need to shift their pri­or­i­ties and think like Expe­ri­ence Mak­ers. They need to make per­son­al­i­sa­tion a pri­or­i­ty and ensure they have all the right pieces in place to bring more engag­ing cus­tomer expe­ri­ences to life.

We’ve already seen a num­ber of major brands shut­ter their doors in 2018 because they couldn’t keep up with chang­ing nature of cus­tomer engage­ment. Clear day­light is now emerg­ing between pio­neers like EE and Mar­riott Hotels and the rest of the pack, and it’s up to brands to adapt or fall on the wrong side of history.

Read more about the For­rester Report com­mis­sioned by Adobe here.

[1] Source, Forrester.

Topics: Digital Transformation, Customer Loyalty, people, process, technology, UK, UK Exclusive, Digital EMEA