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The-customer-experience-wakeup-callThe Wake Up Call For Customer Experience

Being that it is Saturday morning there are some of you who are fortunate not to have to wake up early to go to work, an event or meeting, but I am sure that all of you have stayed in a hotel for an important business meeting or event at one time or another and have called the front desk to ask for a wakeup call because you were worried about being on time for that important meeting and did not want to trust that alarm clock on the nightstand not being sure if you knew how to set it properly or if it worked at all.

Or maybe you set the alarm clock or in today’s world your cell phone but used the wakeup service as a backup to insure that one or the other would get you up on time. Talk about being nervous but I think most of us have been there at some point on some level.

Well, I am hoping that this post will make you aware of the alarms being sounded today and:

  1. Serve as a “reality” wakeup call to bring you up to date on the need of providing a great customer experience.
  2. Remind you what you should be focusing on in today’s customer relationship focused marketing environment.
  3. Explain the reality of the consequences you face if you do not provide a great customer experience
  4. And make you a bit nervous about getting it right by doing the right things.

Let us remember that creating and retaining customers is what always has been at the core of any business and without them there would be no business-And today those who provide the better customer experience will be the leaders.

What has changed is how we need to communicate and interact with customers and the need to provide a genuine customer friendly experience. The marketing environment today is too transparent to rely on “outdated” or “good enough” practices or worse- none at all. 

Customer Experience

Do you really understand what customer experience is? Customer experience is instilling trust and confidence.  The customer must know that you will live up to their expectations by making them feel comfortable in doing business with you. It also entails staying engaged with them after the sale by showing that you value them as a customer by giving them good service and rewarding them for no other reason than just being your customer.

How you accomplish and fulfill these expectations is critical and according to all the information available the methods being prescribed and used in many cases today are debatable at the least and at worst- downright self-serving.

All of us are customers and as such you must first think of how you as a customer want to be treated.

First Some Realities

According to this article in the Harvard business review the value of the customer relationship now exceeds brand value by a wide margin as “Acquirers have decisively moved from investing into businesses with strong brands to businesses with strong customer relationships.”


In an effort to show business leaders in a way that would hit home and make them sit up and take notice Watermark Consulting, a customer experience advisory firm, did a Customer Experience ROI Study posted at Marketingsherpa to validate its importance through showing the impact it had on stock market values which we all know directly correlates to performance .

So not only is it affecting how potential buyers value your company but also how it is affecting your bottom line.

These findings and developments strengthen the need to find ways to interact with consumers on their grounds. Trying to compete on price and brand today is a losing proposition. It is simply not enough in this ““consumer controlled” environment. In order to compete effectively in this environment companies must provide an exceptional customer experience that will make them stand out above their competitors.

 The Opportunity is Now For

Gaining Market Share through the customer experience

According to this recent post at Business to Business Community written by Gregory Yankelovich there has never been a better time to make giant strides to gain market share over many of your competitors.

“Recent studies found that 90 percent of executives say that customer experience is central to their strategies, and 80 percent want to use it as a form of differentiation. The problem is that 86 percent of these executives do not expect to see a significant uplift in business resulting from it. As long as this is the case, nothing will change, and the customer experience mantra will remain just empty words, while their companies continue to compete on price on the race to the bottom.”

Just ask Victor Milligan who said that “Customer experience (CX) has rapidly moved from an ideal to an operational mandate. As Forrester’s CMO, customer experience is one of my four strategic priorities. It’s also tied to my compensation. How’s that for focusing the mind?”

Customer experience management must concentrate on interacting with the consumer and influencing their behavior in ways that communicate with them on their terms. By communicating with consumers in non-intrusive ways these interactions will positively affect how customers feel about your company and their willingness to do business with you and be advocates of your brand.

To succeed in providing an excellent customer experience you must understand how to deal most effectively with them in how you communicate and interact with them.

And The Answer is not More “Push Marketing”

If you are not making customer relationships a priority in your overall marketing strategy or just relying on push marketing practices cleverly disguised today by marketing and technology companies as remarketing and geo-fencing you may not only be offending some consumers-but alienating them .

Granted statistics are showing that these tactics have increased sales but where are the statistics that show how many consumers have turned away from companies practicing this type of marketing-and there are plenty.

Back in 2002, and still relevant today, there was an article published in the Harvard Business Review called: Avoid the Four Perils of CRM written by Darrell Rigby, Fred Reichheld and Phil Schefter. In it, they quoted a Gartnerstatistic which said that:

“55% of all CRM projects don’t produce results”


They said that after following ten years of research they had identified four pitfalls that brands fall into when trying to implement CRM (Customer Relationship Management). They were:

Pitfall 1: Implementing CRM Before Creating a Customer Strategy
Pitfall 2: Rolling Out CRM Before Changing Your Organization to Match
Pitfall 3: Assuming that More CRM Technology Is Better
Pitfall 4: Stalking, Not Wooing, Customers

Consumers are inundated with all the ways that exist today to get in front of them and others are developing technology to counter this with technology like ad blockers that according to a very recent article at Chief Marketer by Zach Schapira, “In the long-term if pervasive ad blocking shrinks the supply of sellable inventory (which is already occurring), publishers may try to make up for the lost revenue by raising CPMs for advertisers.”

If consumers are opting out and avoiding the ways in which you are marketing it is time to find other ways that will encourage interaction in a way that they will welcome your contact and become advocates of your brand.

A more recent article published at Entrepreneur magazine which represents how many people feel today entitled “Your Marketing Is Chasing Customers Away! Here's Why” by Jurgen Appelo CEO of the business network Happy Melly. In the article he lists his Three Rules of Marketing:

  1. Pull, don't push. Make sure that people can find you using Google, social networks and/or market places. Attract them with great content. 
  2. Show, don't tell. Make sure people can see with their own eyes that you are awesome. Those who are cool and remarkable don't need to say it. 
  3. Share, don't beg. Don't annoy everyone with 20th-century marketing tactics. Thanks to transparency, when you behave like a beggar, everyone will know. 

Not convinced?

The consumer push back keeps gaining momentum and they are blocking and opting out of receiving ads. Google has just announced that it will be offering a subscription ad blocking service where the consumer can choose the amount of ads they see.

 In the mobile area the current push marketing tactics are facing challenges from privacy groups and now possibly from the FCC that will diminish the effectiveness of this tracking technology and  increase the costs for advertisers to use tactics that are offending consumers. 

There are also other technologies and more being developed that are helping disgruntled consumers who do not want to be tracked and fed all this advertising. Faced with Congressional pressure, Verizon said in February that it would revise its program and allow people to opt out of tracking headers. And now the Federal Communications Commission could still step in and tell Verizon that they need to obtain users' explicit consent before engaging in this kind of tracking.

All this tracking and retargeting has shown to be effective but they cannot measure the amount of consumers that are being alienated by this resulting in lost customers that may not patronize these businesses again.

It is time to start finding alternative customer friendly solutions and provide a-

 Positive Customer Experience

The cost effectiveness and benefit of having a customer or potential customer on your site as a community member is immeasurable when comparing it to the cost of campaigns to reach them.

Communities humanize you in ways no other marketing medium can to show customers that you value them and offers you a way to insure against offending consumers with push marketing tactics to interact with them consistently on their terms and provide them with a great customer experience.

Marketing From Ground Zero starts by having a community member platform on your website that you can utilize and adapt to all prevailing winds and turn an existing company resource- your website- your existing customer base - your site visitors and your employees into advocates and influencers as an anchor for your online marketing strategies.

An onsite community can be the jewel in the crown of your online marketing and act as “ground zero” to fuel your overall marketing initiatives. Unlike paid advertising that is fleeting and exits only as long as you are paying, and which consumers are avoiding at an increasing rate, an onsite community is an asset that endures and can provide a solid foundation to continually produce benefits to both you and your existing and potential customers.

No matter what industry you are in an onsite community can create a customer centric culture and provide consistency that will resonate across all your paid, social and owned media channels. And no matter what direction social media marketing takes these communities will act as conduits to reach and attract an audience that can know and understand you and will result in increased brand perception and engagement.

Communities also become data centers for learning the needs, concerns and actions of its customer base through diverse interaction creating a virtual ecosystem that feeds on itself.

There are many different forms that an onsite community can take and each one can be customized to fit each businesses particular needs. In lieu of or in addition to paying professional market influencers you can create ways to make your own customers advocates and influencers by rewarding them with special discounts, offers, drawings and contests for community members along with content and a forum for communication that will keep members (customers) engaged and informed that will pay big dividends in retaining existing customers and attracting new ones for your business.

With social organic reach fast becoming a distant memory as social networks and online advertisers seek to profit from their platforms “ It is time to Look Within” to seek alternative ways in which to effectively reach and draw audiences to build a permanent customer experience friendly foundation that can provide extremely cost- effective ways to control your own destiny and solidify your place for the long term in the online marketing industry.

 A new Forrester Research report released last Monday found that 73 percent of businesses surveyed stated that customer experience is a strategic priority but only 1 percent of companies currently deliver an excellent experience.

That’s a problem, Forrester says, because customer experience (sometimes called CX) has become a more strategic imperative than ever. “Making customers feel valued is the holy grail of CX emotions,” said Megan Burns, a principal analyst with Forrester.

As stated at the beginning of this article there has never been a better time to make giant strides to gain market share over many of your competitors so the time is “Now” to take the lead to improve you own value as a company by showing your customers how much you value them by enhancing their customer experience with an onsite community.


Community word image compliments of Kate Evangelista