A customer experience describes how customers perceive their contact with the brand across the various touchpoints. This customer experience – whether positive or negative – takes place in the eyes of the beholder, i.e. the consumer him- or herself. It’s comprised of all phases in the journey the customer makes before reaching his or her goal – namely the purchase of a product or service.
Thanks to the capture of increasing amounts of data and new tools for analysis and interpretation – and with the help of artificial intelligence (AI) – nowadays companies can already personalise the customer experience for individual groups of customers in great detail. Here, it’s important to also cater for the needs of the different individuals targeted: not all people want to be treated in the same way or have the same experience as others. While one customer may want to hear about new products by email, for example, another further on in his or her decision to buy may prefer to receive information by WhatsApp through various optional functions.
Why is a convincing customer experience so important for you as a company? Negative customer experiences prompt people to form an aversion to your brand and may even cause clients to migrate to one of your competitors. Or would you go back to a restaurant where you’d found a hair in your soup? A positive customer experience, on the other hand, creates loyalty, a lasting customer bond and long-term economic success.
Think and act from the customer’s perspective
Many companies still see the world from a false perspective, namely from the inside out. They decide which products and services they offer at what price and through which channels. This perspective doesn’t tarry with today’s reality, however. Companies who want to be successful in the era of the customer must rather think from the outside in, i.e. see things from the customer’s standpoint. Only with a deep understanding of consumer needs can companies today serve their customers in the best possible way. This turns the customer experience into a key competitive advantage in our current digital world. The idea is not to simply push the customer towards the predefined sales target. On the contrary: relevant experiences with positive emotions in the context of the brand should be placed in the foreground. In a sales situation, these good experiences are then the first thing that springs to mind.
NikePlus is a grand example for this. The platform doesn’t simply sell sneakers and clothes; it inspires people with sports news, competitions and datacontrolled fitness apps – and this is much more, for it moves the consumer emotionally and makes him or her part of a large community. The Nike stores in Los Angeles and New York use this NikePlus data to personalise visits to high-street outlets: with individual access IDs, display of the availability of ordered goods and the option of paying for products on the shelf. A click-and-collect service and the ability to return or change false purchases without leaving your car are also offered and style advisors are available on-site to give personal recommendations.
In the digital age, companies can only be successful in the long term if they take the customer’s perspective and, based on this, create a better customer experience at the various touchpoints – as sports clothing manufacturer Nike demonstrates.
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