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Customer Experience: Have Them at Hello

Jerry McGuire had her at “Hello.” Adele had us all at “Hello.” A simple “Hello” can be what makes the difference in the success of your brand’s customer experience.

So much of marketing communications and public relations is about connecting with our target audiences and getting them through the front door, whether it is to attend an event, make a purchase or support a cause. We craft custom content and use imaging that best promotes the product or service being offered within the context of the overall organizational brand. It’s what happens after our target audience has made the decision to engage, whether it be online, on the phone or in person, that will have the biggest impact on the success for your marketing, public relations and living up to your brand promise.

It is what Forrester Research refers to as “signature moments.” A colleague of mine who worked at a hospital often shared stories about patient encounters. The hospital does not have valet parking, however she recalls at least three occasions when patients handed her their car keys, she went in search of their vehicle and drove it around to the front door. A simple gesture of assistance made an impression, because she recognized an opportunity. Engaging a customer with a simple and sincere “hello” or “may I help you” can open doors to a rewarding experience for you and your customer.

It’s the Journey, not just the Destination

This is the age of the consumer, and Forrester Research notes that customer experience rose to be the #1 priority factor in 2015. While digital is the primary vehicle for personalizing, promoting and connecting target audiences with the brand, delivering on the promise is very much a human experience. As explained in a September 2013 article in the Harvard Business Review, “The Truth About Customer Experience,” the experience has to meet or exceed the brand promise throughout the customer’s journey, both virtually and face-to-face.

Disney and Southwest Airlines are two companies that are renowned for their focus on the customer experience. How are they so successful at delivering a consistent experience? Their employees. Both companies recognize that their number one brand ambassadors, the ones who are going to deliver on the brand promise is not the CEO, but the front line employees. They can make or break the customer experience which affects customer loyalty, revenue and perception in the marketplace.

By empowering their employees to resolve issues on the front line, it provides opportunities to deliver on those “signature moments”, personalize the customer experience and deepen brand awareness and loyalty. This does not mean every issue centers around conflict resolution. Sometimes it is simply sensing that there is an opportunity to make a difference and acting on it with something as simple as “hello.” As the saying goes, “it’s the little things.”

Served, Not Sold; Involved, Not Told

Patrick Jackson is a legend in the public relations field. Always ahead of his time, he was a visionary on the power and importance of relationships to help organizations thrive. In the late 1990s, the Internet was in its infancy and social media wasn’t even on the horizon, but one thing Pat Jackson was often quoted on, and in this day of digital communications and social media, has never rang more true, is: “______ want to be served, not sold, and involved, not told.”

He said fill in the blank: employees, customers, shareholders, etc. Each depends on the other for our brand’s overall success, and with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, etc., the engagement is no longer top down. To be successful in business, we have to continually monitor, listen, engage and respond throughout the customer’s journey with us. To stop and say “hello,” because if you don’t deliver the expected experience, someone else will.

If you need assistance building the perfect customer pathway on your business website, contact an integrated marketing firm.

Please remember to send me an email, call, or connect via Twitter and LinkedIn to share ideas you have about this topic. I want to hear your thoughts!

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