When your best customer interacts with your brand, how do they feel about you afterwards?
This is a question only a select few savvy marketers can answer confidently. Instead most are focused on how to get more traffic, subscribers, leads, transactions. While these are important, the companies that offer a cohesive brand experience benefit from intangibles that are overlooked by data driven companies. First off I want to be clear that being driven by data and results is nothing but the best way to make marketing decisions. However, some companies are able to go above and beyond the numbers to offer something truly unique; and they benefit by earning long-term loyal customers.
Take for instance Zappos.com. In a market that’s saturated with online and offline shoe stores, Zappos has consistently set and raised the bar for a unique customer experience that, in my opinion, supersedes any I have had in a bricks and mortar shoe store. Each and every staff member is empowered to provide the best possible service to their customers through social media, live chat, and more and are encouraged to create a “Wow!” moment every time.
In my personal experience, I had just finished reading the book Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh. Knowing that Zappos does not offer service to Canada, I thought I would put their infamous customer service to the test and see if I could somehow get a pair of shoes delivered to my home in Vancouver, BC. Although I was not 100$ successful (disclaimer: they really don’t offer shipping to Canada), I had a uniquely pleasant experience with my customer service representative who went out of her way to find me a convenient place near my home to ship the shoes and store them until I could pick them up. While I had to spend half a day driving to Blaine, WA to grab my shoes, the savings in gas and the mini-adventure made it all worth while!
At the end of the day, I came away from the experience happy and notably impressed with the level of care the Zappos staff member took to make sure I was able to happily purchase from their store. My impression from Zappos was that theirs’ is a personality of kindness, helpfulness, and that they would go above and beyond the call of duty to make for a happy customer experience. To be analogous, they’re like what everyone’s best friend should be!
How Create Your Own Brand Experience
Taking this lesson into your own company, consider the concept that a brand is more than just a collection of graphic design and carefully written key messages. The true measure of a brand is how it resonates with its best customers during and after an interaction with its staff or properties. When designing these customer experiences for clients, it always helps me to develop a narrative in my head not unlike the voiceover on a movie trailer.
By creating a narrative you imagine the customer going through the experience and you pick up details of how they’re dressed, who they’re with, and what might be important to them. This helps a marketer uncover the additional actions and services that truly make a memorable experience. It’s like when you order wings from a restaurant and the server brings you a finger bowl and a hot towel to clean your hands afterward. Or the gas station attendant who cleans your windows while filling up your gas tank. It’s these little things that take away any anxiety or extra work involved with making a purchase and inspire the right customers to want to continue going back.
Creating an impact with your best customer takes careful thought, hard work, and maybe even a little bit of extra money. However, providing a uniquely pleasant customer experience that leaves nothing to be desired sets you apart from the countless marketers today who allow cost savings and strict ROI calculations to limit the customer experience to the bare minimum required to make a sale. Life is about experiences, and the brands that not only embrace this but also champion it, consistently succeed beyond expectations.