Developing a business strategy is a complex exercise. Often, firms are inspired by their market and their competitors to create a so-called “differentiation” strategy. We note that the results are only very rarely conclusive and as a result, in a market we regularly find the same business models, similar offers, almost identical customer services, etc. Did you think about your customers when creating your strategy? What have you put in place to make them feel a sense of belonging to your business? If you don’t have a concrete answer to this question, it makes sense that you are having a hard time differentiating yourself in your market. Especially if you arrived on the latter when it was already occupied by your competitors.
Sell experiences to your customers, not just products
Think about a brand that you particularly like. Now try to define the 5 reasons why you like this brand. Among these 5 reasons, one of them is certainly related to a feeling that you have towards this entity. This feeling comes from a lived experience, such as visiting a store that you perceived to be different from that of other brands, excellent customer service, or just a “feeling” that is difficult to explain.
These elements are rarely due to chance. They are certainly the result of a well thought-out strategy by your favorite brand. If you have a business yourself, now try to think about 5 reasons why a customer would choose you over one of your competition. This exercise is not simple and yet, it is an essential reflection to carry out if one wishes to create a strategy of differentiation.
If after this reflection you come to the conclusion that your customers choose you because you have a quality product or service, it is because your strategy is not that different from others. Companies that truly differentiate themselves don’t just sell a product or service. They sell experiences to their customers.
The “Customer Journey” tool
This tool aims to define the key stages of the purchasing process of your customers (before, during and after purchase). Yes… The first thing to do to create a strategy based on customer experience is logically… to try to understand your customers! It may seem trivial but we forget it too often.
At each stage of the “Customer Journey” its communication channels
As can be seen from the example, each step is linked to specific communication channels. To differentiate yourself, it will therefore be necessary not only to understand all the stages through which your customers can go during their purchasing process, but also to think about which channels to use, when and how, to follow them at all times. As you will have understood, before arriving at a concrete strategy, a great deal of analysis and reflection is necessary.
Identify and anticipate possible problems for its customers
During each step of the “Customer Journey”, your customers may be confronted with one or more problem (s) in their purchasing process. To avoid negative experiences as much as possible, it is possible to identify in advance potential problems that your customers may have to face, as well as solutions that could respond to them in the event that any of these situations arise. .
In this way, you will offer your customers a total, unique and memorable experience. It is important to keep in mind the notion of total experience. The client remembers their entire experience. It is for this reason that all stages of the process must be thought through and worked in depth. They must complement each other.
To illustrate the total experience that a company must offer its customers, we can take the example of Walt Disney World, which masters this practice perfectly Anyone who has ever visited a Disney park could testify to the effort Disney makes to make all the boring and very down-to-earth tasks ‘magical’ such as buying an entrance ticket, standing in line for an attraction, or visiting. At its resort for guests staying there. This attention to detail combined with the creativity of the teams in charge of the customer experience fully immerse visitors in the world of Disney. For example, many children are denied an attraction after waiting for many minutes because they are under the minimum height allowed. Disney then created a pass to allow disappointed children not to queue for their next attraction. Another example that demonstrates the attention paid to customers is the hotline for locating characters. After noticing that many visitors were inquiring about the whereabouts of the characters from the world of Disney in the park, they created a Hotline (Character Hotline and Information Program) which allows the location of these characters to be known to any moment.
Finally, the Disney resorts built next to the parks offer customers the opportunity to extend the experience in Mickey’s world.
Listen to customers to surprise them
Even with all the anticipation in the world, some communication channels are very difficult to control. This is the case, for example, with social networks, blogs or even word of mouth. In short, all channels whose content is created by the customer and not by the company. It is for this reason that the function of Community Management has a decisive role to play in the development of a strategy focused on the customer experience. Indeed, it makes it possible to analyze the reactions of customers on these different communication channels and above all, to react to them! It is by taking the time to listen to your customers that you will be able to surprise them and create a memorable experience for them.
The customer experience is a theme that may seem simple. In the end, it is for a business manager to treat his customers and employees (because they are also the ones who are in constant contact with the customers) as he would like to be treated. However, as explained previously, it is not that simple. Even though it may seem easy to react to a problem encountered by a customer in the most “human” way possible, this is by far not the case!
In conclusion, we could compare this notion of customer experience to the tip of an iceberg. This is the visible result for consumers. However, all the strategic thinking, the establishment of corporate culture, the processes, the coordination between the various departments of the company… All these elements are the hidden part of the iceberg, the most consequent, and that which takes the longest time to train.
The objective of this article was to encourage reflection on this very current theme of customer experience. For now, what we can say is that there is still a long way to go before this practice is fully implemented in Swiss companies.