What makes one brand more desirable than another? Bruce Temkin’s Forbes article provides the answer: better brands obsess about customer needs. Recently, Forrester Research ranked 133 US companies across 14 industries, using feedback from approximately 4,600 consumers. Barnes & Noble was at the top, while Marriott Hotels and Hampton Inn were close contenders. Despite high marks for some hospitality companies, the research concludes there’s plenty of room for improvement (only 13 of the 133 companies received “excellent” ratings).
Customer loyalty. That’s why the customer experience matters to marketing officers. Quantitative evidence shows customer experience leaders have more loyal customers. On average:
- 14.4% of customers are willing to buy again from the same company.
- 15.8% of customers are reluctant to switch away.
- 16.6% are likely to recommend them.
For larger companies, improving customer experience can mean incremental increases in revenue in the hundreds of millions of dollars. This isn’t easy to achieve of course. Enhancing the customer experience requires a “cross functional initiative,” ideal for the marketing officer to direct.
Here are three rules for customer experience:
1. Obsess about customer needs, not necessarily product features. Focus on what the customer wants, and you might learn they don’t want all the bells and whistles.
2. Reinforce the brand with every interaction. Temkin writes, “One bad experience has more influence on a customer than a lifetime of traditional brand messaging. That’s why the brand needs to be reinforced at every customer touchpoint.”
3. Treat customer experience as a competence, not a function. Everyone in the organization must be in on the market campaign. They must believe in it. Spend some time driving the message to your staff first.
Finally, Temkin suggests amplifying the voice of the customer. A valuable feature of using feedback is it promotes “better cross-organization alignment.” After all, it’s hard to argue with customer feedback.