Marketers are increasingly expected to help their brands deliver an excellent customer experience (CX).
But with so many tools, channels, and other digital resources required to do so, how best can marketers build a business case for the investment required?
To find out, Econsultancy invited dozens of client-side marketers to the Chinese megacity of Shanghai to discuss CX at roundtables in April of this year.
The roundtables covered topics related to CX and were moderated by volunteer client-side marketers and subject matter experts from Econsultancy and our event sponsor Epsilon.
Delegates brought experiences from many different companies and industries and they openly discussed their success stories and challenges with the group.
Moderators dutifully took high-level notes during the discussion and presented them back to the group at the end.
Below is a summary of the main talking points during the day about the topic: Customer Experience – Building the Business Case & Best Practices.
Building the business case for CX
Participants at this table were primarily concerned with building the business case for customer experience initiatives.
That is, how can improving the customer experience help to attract new business, keep existing customers, and encourage loyal customers to buy more?
Getting new business
Participants started by discussing how improving CX can deliver new business for their companies.
One attendee noted that consumers are overwhelmed with choice and so when they are making a buying decision, a company’s brand is playing an increasingly important role.
However, a brand’s image is no longer based solely on what companies say in their marketing. Instead consumers are learning about brands from their peers through social media, one participant pointed out.
So, rather than focusing on messaging, a company should instead invest in providing a great experience.
This, in turn, will ensure that customers speak positively about the brand on social channels.
Communicating brand value
But how can companies help customers communicate brand values?
From the discussions it emerged that every single brand has a story to tell, regardless of its industry, location and size. Telling this story will help create an emotional bond with consumers.
Once this bond is created, one participant argued, customers will be less likely to recommend another service or product and more likely to become a loyal lifetime buyer.
So, to communicate the brand value, tell the brand story.
Keeping customers happy
Attendees then talk about how a company, once it has loyal customers, can keep them happy.
The consensus was that whether you are trying to please B2B or B2C customers, it’s important to remember that you are dealing with a person.
So, keeping up positive momentum with them means providing customer service which is personal and sincere.
This will, according to participants, reassure your customers that you are working in their best interests and that they are not just part of your revenue targets.
One attendee held up Starbucks as an example. The brand’s mission is ‘To inspire and nurture the human spirit – one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.’
This simple philosophy is inclusive and encouraging for all of its customers worldwide.
Encouraging customers to buy more
Finally, table participants wanted to know how improving customer experience would encourage existing customers to buy more from their companies.
One attendee answered this question by asking other participants the following questions:
- How good is your service for existing customers?
- How often do you follow-up with them?
- Do you have a loyalty programme?
- Do you really care for them?
If you are doing what you can for all of the above, he argued, then you are inviting them to buy more from you.
In short, the objective of customer care programmes is to nurture a customer community which appreciates your customer-focused corporate mission.
Buying more or using your service more will then be natural for them.
To sum it all up
Delegates agreed that improving customer experience with sincere and personal service provides real value to customers.
Digital channels can be used to reinforce an emotional bond and encourage engagement, but ultimately marketers have to think about how they can make their customers’ lives easier.
Through answering that question, the business case for improving customer experience should become clear.
A word of thanks
Econsultancy would like to thank all of the client-side marketers who participated on the day and our sponsor for the event, Epsilon.
We would like to extend a special thanks to the table moderator for this topic, Amirsan Roberto, Founder & CEO of Roberto&Co.
We appreciate all of the helpful discussion points participants provided on the day and we hope to see you all at our upcoming Econsultancy events!