Are You TRUE in Your Customer Experience Management?

by Jeanne Roué-Taylor

We’re months past the winter holidays and sellers have a great chance to think about what we’ve learned, now that the dust has settled. Each holiday shopping season is an intense, focused study in what motivates customers to buy and brings many opportunities for improvement. Looking back, it would be too easy to think that a customer completing a long shopping list for gifts would be most motivated by price, but Forrester Principal Analyst Tracy Stokes says otherwise. Stokes recently blogged her advice to big-box retailers, saying that superior customer experience is the differentiator for retail marketers.

TRUE

Stokes uses the acronym TRUE to summarize the approach that she recommends, which stands for trusted, remarkable, unmistakable, and essential. These are certainly great targets for any brand, especially one that wishes to avoid racing to the pricing bottom each season. But how does a brand interact with a customer in a way that meets those requirements both at the holidays and throughout the Spring, Summer and Fall?

Answering that question is more of a challenge than those four adjectives would imply.

Gaining Trust

Consumer expectations are rising fast in the digital age. Knowing where and when a customer wants to be engaged is an enormous part of being trusted. Unwanted or tone-deaf communication breaks trust.

Appearing Remarkable

Great marketing gets attention from the customer and, even more, makes them a brand advocate. An advocate tells their network about their experience because it was that good. But it has to be perceived as repeatable to be shared.

Being Unmistakable 

Being just another bright red flyer in the mailbox isn’t very unmistakable. For a brand to be set apart, it has to promise and deliver an experience that is very personalized and relevant.

Perceived as Essential

Being essential means there’s no competitor that can match a brand’s service or customer experience. A customer feels they have no alternative but to continue to do business with the brand because that’s the best path to satisfaction.

Savvy consumers increasingly using digital means to choose brands will channel their spending toward brands that can delivery on these concepts. Loyalty platforms are the essential tool that make being TRUE possible in a highly competitive marketplace. Are you ready to be TRUE to your customers? You have months before crunch time comes again and now’s the time to create your new plan of action.

Learn more at www.loyaltylab.com/expertise, and watch our webinar, The Top 10 Marketing Trends for 2014.

 

Why Is Great Customer Experience Management So Elusive?

by Jeanne Roué-Taylor

Forrester updated its view into Customer Experience Management (CEM) earlier this year, with very interesting survey data. Retail continues to score highest among consumers and airlines stayed near the bottom. That’s why it came as no surprise when airlines moved quickly to be the first to announce that they would allow device use during takeoff and landing, just days after the FAA recently changed the regulations.

Airlines Aren’t Alone in the Struggle

Airlines aren’t the only ones to improve customer experience management. While retailers lead Forrester’s CEM survey, customer experience scores vary greatly between brands. Several of the highest scores were cost-cutting retailers—not surprising during a downturn in the economy.

But not all retailers mentioned were cost-cutters. For brands that want to compete on more than simply price, customer experience takes on a new urgency. At least one retail chain listed in the survey scored higher than cost-cutting brands, even though they don’t compete on price.

Rather than racing to the pricing bottom, brands are increasingly taking advantage of strong loyalty programs, executive through loyalty platforms, to improve the customer experience and retention.

The Danger of Competing on Price Alone

Competing on price alone is a cutthroat business model with a constant threat of disruption. It only takes a lower price to take the customer elsewhere. Competing on great customer experience, on the other hand, is a virtuous model that offers customer advocacy, revenue lift, and forgiveness for the occasional slip up.

Great CEM is elusive for brands that lack a focus on customer service, don’t know their customers well, or have outdated, transaction-focused loyalty programs.