By: Heba Barakat, VP Marketing and Communications 

Heba Barakat, VP Marketing and Communication

What makes a successful brand has changed over the past two decades, what worked before will no longer work. Marketers and Brand managers has to look for unconventional ways to keep their customers coming back. 

In today’s highly competitive world, customers are continuously distracted by the average of 5,000 brand messages a day, hence, standing out from the clutter is not an easy mission and it will depend on the brands’ ability to create exceptional customer experience to keep winning their customers over and over.  This is true across industries and becomes more important with experience- led brands. These brands need to be patient with how they build their connection with the customer, as the conventional media approach will probably not work like the product or price led brands. The most impactful communication methods include: Social media, key influencers and customer testimonials and the most important one is the referrals and word of mouth. Some of the best experience-led brands include Emirates Airline, Starbucks , Amazon and Ritz-Carlton. For Ritz-Carlton, the customer reviews on platforms like booking, trip advisor…etc, plays a major role in communication and moving the customer to the consideration or purchase intention phase fast.

Exceptional customer experience builds a foundation of loyalty and improves customer retention. People are looking for high-quality products and services at an optimal price. Customers are willing to pay more for the same products and services if they feel the companies are providing extra value through interactions and experience. 

Research suggests that customers are more likely to buy from companies when personalized experience is provided, on the other side, when the company fails to meet customer expectations, customers don’t only stop interacting with the brand, but they also share their thoughts and experience with friends and on different social media platforms which can jeopardize all the company’s efforts to bring new customers and drive sales.

Optimizing the customer experience does not come easily, it is a challenging process and requires efficient customer journey mapping, which require the brands to master the following: 

  1. Understand Customer Needs: Brands must listen, observe, and understand their customer behavior and attitude in each step of their journey with the brand. Not only should the brand meet the functional needs but also the emotional needs.  

Understanding the functional or rational needs is quite easy compared to the emotional needs that are usually unspoken by the customer but the brand has to figure it out and own this space in the mind of the customer. The emotional benefits are plenty and varies according to the brand and industry 

  1. Omni-Channel Communication: Customers don’t want to be constrained to a single communication channel but want to start communications on one channel and move to another without having to restart the conversation. An omni-channel communication will enable consumers to be more empowered in their interactions with your company, 
  2. Capture Customer feedback in real time: customers hate to be ignored, being responsive to their requests, complaints without having to wait for ever is key to providing an excellent customer experience. This is true with all the boom in the use of social media as customers go actively to share their experiences with other customers and members of the different platforms. 
  3. Consistency Consistency is the glue that holds it all together. When the brand is consistent with the message it communicates, with its level of responsiveness and has proper mechanisms to ensure the consistency of the experience delivered to the customer at each touch point, they can win their customers over.

Customers’ expectations are evolving and meeting these expectations is the price of admission to the market, the personalized, and seamless customer experience is more important than ever. 

The outstanding Customer experience is an unconventional growth hack away from all the conventional media and communication tools. If the brand fails to get the customer experience right, all the budgets spend on the media and communication to drive sales will be wasted. An amazing customer experience is what builds loyal customers and keeps them coming back. A loyal customer base will not only increase customer satisfaction and engagement, but it will improve the bottom line and increase the ROI.