It’s All About the Customers

“The head of marketing is concerned with getting the customer into the pipeline, the head of technology is concerned with how the customer is navigating the site, the head of customer care is concerned with getting the customer to come back, but no one’s asking about the whole customer experience, and whether the customer is happy.” – Chung Ng

The Internet has allowed brands to be closer than ever to their target audiences, and yet many brands have lost sight of the customer. The consequences are severe – customers complain, buy less, go to the competition.

Brands don’t always know why. That’s because lots of individual things could be showing positive results while the collective picture is not so rosey. The marketing team, the CPG team, the CRM team, the social team, the sales team can all be working hard within their siloes, everyone looking at their own metrics. What’s the open rate on that email, one asks. How many likes for that Instagram post, another wonders. What’s our ROI on the big launch campaign, the CMO queries. The question they should be asking is: what was the customer experience and how can we improve it?

The difference between brands that listen to the customer and those that don’t is night and day. Nike and Adidas consistently listen to their customers and as a result have won an army of devoted fans and see the payoff every quarter. Oscar is another customer experience-friendly brand that is disrupting an industry of monolithic and traditional health insurance companies. CityMD has made urgent care a clean, modern, digital, affordable and fast experience for customers who have begun to replace their primary physicians. Tesla is completely changing the automotive industry by reimagining the customer experience. There are a lot of great examples out there, but even more of companies who aren’t doing it the right way.

Those who listen do so through focus groups, panels, loyalty programs, and market mavens. They also use new technologies and services such as Sprinklr, an online listening company that helps other brands measure their customers’ digital chatter. Sprinklr helped McDonalds better understand their customers’ preferences, which encouraged the fast food giant to create a new offering – all day breakfast.

At Rokkan, every piece of work we do is centered around enhancing the customer journey, no matter what we’re doing – from digital to social to creative. We helped JetBlue see the whole customer journey. Each product felt different, so we suggested embracing a service culture for the customer support hotline. When someone calls the support line, that’s an opportunity to ask about other parts of the experience, like whether they’d seen the new JetBlue.com or had an enjoyable last flight. That created a unified experience and yielded better data for the brand. Every interaction with your customer is an opportunity to build a better experience.

We also know legacy brands often struggle to evolve their approach to customer experience. Part of that has to do with long-established operating proceedures that get in the way of the big picture. Our answer to that is a wider evaluation not just of each step in the customer journey, or the outcome, but in the potential of the ride. So we imagine – and propose – big things.

A lot of times, the response will be disheartening – our systems can’t do that, they’ll tell us. My response? Your customers don’t care. We come in with no notion of legacy, move without restriction and operate fearlessly. Our ideas offer the customer both a customized journey and a back door through which they can forge their own experience. It’s like going to IKEA – some days I’m surgical and just cut through the side door to get my meatballs. Other days I’ll take the well-worn path. Either way, I’m grateful for the choice.

So wake up, legacy brands. Keep losing sight of the customer and soon enough, they’ll be gone.

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