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The way businesses operate is transforming as environments constantly shift — our digital world is fast-paced, technology-led and even chaotic. While attempting to keep up with the times and simultaneously scale, it’s easy to become caught up in the surrounding hype of new marketing concepts, innovative software…and the actions of the latest disruptive startups. Before you know it, you’re (ironically) neglecting the single most important component of success and growth: Your customers. Customer experience is not a new idea — however, the proliferation of ‘digital’ and abundance of choice has empowered customers more than ever before. Selecting (and dismissing) brands is effortless; these decisions are often made without even a glimmer of a second thought. Similar to the buzz of Artificial Intelligence and its once-naysayers, the many predictions have now met reality. Experience matters just as much as anticipated. Today. Here are 7 mighty customer experience trends to inform your retention strategy in 2018 (and beyond) by ensuring heartfelt customer delight… Because customers matter as people — not numbers.

  • DG

    Dana Gore

    over 2 years ago #

    Great article. Thanks for putting this together.
    I especially appreciated the part about pre-empting what the customer is thinking before any problems or solutions even need to occur. I call this "using hindsight in the present moment"...and it works well not only with commerce, but life in general. Just takes an expanded perspective and level of awareness.

    • EE

      Erik Emanuelli

      over 2 years ago #

      Agreed, Dana and Sam.
      I confirm that many aspects of business can be applied in life too.
      Values like honesty, sincerity, punctuality, optimism, respect....they all work for both situations!

    • SH

      Sam Hurley

      over 2 years ago #

      @MrsDeeGee You got it, Dana! Much of life's general lessons / rules can (and should) be applied to business!!! No doubt.

      Thanks for reading + sharing your perspective! :-D

  • RC

    Reginald Chan

    over 2 years ago #

    Great article and thanks for sharing. As 2018 is fast approaching, it is a no-brainer to start planning! Voted up!

    • EE

      Erik Emanuelli

      over 2 years ago #

      Think about improving CX to increase customer loyalty and get more sales by word of mouth too!

    • SH

      Sam Hurley

      over 2 years ago #

      Thanks for your support, Reginald! It's time for brands to shift up a gear (or 5) when it comes to CX!

  • BP

    Brenda Pace

    over 2 years ago #

    Hey Erik!

    Yet another slam dunk from our boy, @sam_hurley! As 2018 quickly approaches and businesses, small and large, get geared up for the new year, it's important that we focus on the customer experience. I know a few places that I would love to have purchased from but the company couldn't care less about customer interaction. It was like I was "just a number". So I took my purchase elsewhere. Visually appealing is important but if you can't connect with the customer, meet their needs, and have them smiling, you better just shut down your biz. A good customer experience could grow into hundreds of other sales plus grow your rapport. Very essential nowadays.

    Thanks again for sharing. Gave me some key ideas for the new year!

    B

    • SH

      Sam Hurley

      over 2 years ago #

      You never fail to make me smile, Bren!!! :D :D :D :D

      Damn right! The majority of brands I experience are unfortunately laggards ... We're talking 9/10! They leave A LOT to be desired.

      Feeling like a number is definitely not a great emotion to experience.

      Loved your words 'have them smiling' ... Pretty much sums up the entire article!!!

      Thanks so much, Bren! :-D

    • EE

      Erik Emanuelli

      over 2 years ago #

      When I worked as financial promoter (15 years ago), I remember taking part in a course where they teached us to treat customers as if they were our only clients, to make them feel unique and special.

  • LR

    Lorraine Reguly

    over 2 years ago #

    It's all about the customers --- and when business realize this, they'll find that their sales will skyrocket!

    By providing customers with unforgettable, awesome, and positive services, companies will have more sales AND better testimonials too!

    Point #7 makes this possible by providing customers with a seamless purchase journey!

    • EE

      Erik Emanuelli

      over 2 years ago #

      Without customers, you have no business, so why having a bad customer support? It makes no sense! As you said, it's all about caring about your clients.

      Sam nailed it with this post and regarding #7, I love how Amazon does its omnichannel marketing. As a customer, I make purchases from both mobile devices and desktop computer.
      There's so much to learn from Jeff Bezos!

      • SH

        Sam Hurley

        over 2 years ago #

        Jeff is the pioneer of awesome CX!

        Love your words there, Erik — "Without customers, you have no business, so why having a bad customer support? It makes no sense!"

        Absolutely nothing more to be said!!! xD

    • SH

      Sam Hurley

      over 2 years ago #

      Thanks so much for your time, Lorraine!!

      "It's all about the customers --- and when business realize this, they'll find that their sales will skyrocket!"

      Absolutely — This nature of service is the new marketing. Retention breeds word of mouth praise, and THAT is an unstoppable force...

      #BOOM!

  • LS

    Lisa Sicard

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Erik, another great one by Sam Hurley on exceptional customer service. Providing a great customer experience really increases a business's bottom line today. It's not always easy to keep clients happy time after time when the competition is offering freebies and such to them.
    You really have to go out and do extra's to retain the ones you have today but in the end it's worth it. Doing this digitally is getting more tricky too as the competition can dazzle them with enticing emails and social posts.

    Having the ability to react quickly and preemptive to customer needs online is key and will be a real winner in the coming year too.

    • EE

      Erik Emanuelli

      over 2 years ago #

      I would rather invest more of my money to improve my customer service, then my products.

      • SH

        Sam Hurley

        over 2 years ago #

        #BOOM! All the way, Erik... As long as the products are of a high level already, anyway! **Everything** contributes to great CX.

    • SH

      Sam Hurley

      over 2 years ago #

      @Lisapatb Thanks so much for reading, Lisa! :o)

      I'm glad you mentioned freebies — I believe when a brand REALLY operates in the best way possible, they are untouchable. EVEN when others offer freebies, and they don't...

      Perception plays a huge role, too. Freebies could be seen as a cheap ploy that are designed to look like they carry value — whereas the premium brand can't offer freebies because they spend so much money + time on exceptional customer experience!

      The typical 'social media content bundles' spring to mind hehehe!

      Often, loyal customers will see through this technique ... Especially as price is becoming less important to them.

      "You really have to go out and do extra" is so damn true!!!

      And proactive engagement is HUGE, my friend. 100% with you! :o)

  • JH

    Joy Healey

    over 2 years ago #

    Quite mind-blowing article really!

    As a solopreneur, it leaves me feeling a bit lost about how I could implement such techniques.

    But as a customer I can relate to, and welcome, the requirements.

    Having just spent the afternoon searching for Cyber Monday deals for an electric toothbrush, I can confirm that certain sites were, indeed, dismissed in the blink of an eyelid.

    Nevertheless, I actually went for the cheapest. Having said that, my chosen company does have an impeccable reputation here in the UK. But I WAS a little irritated that it wasn't 100% obvious that the "customers also bought" suggestion wasn't the exact head replacement I would need. That cost them an easy add-on sale.

    Thanks for a thought-provoking glimpse of the future (and some already there!)

    • SH

      Sam Hurley

      over 2 years ago #

      WoW! Thanks for your ***awesome*** feedback, Joy!!! :-D

      I completely hear you ... A solopreneur cannot possibly implement all of these (easily). It's the big brands that need to take heed ... And fast!

      Everybody just needs to ensure their customers receive amazing experiences. When it's outlined as simply as that, there are no excuses, nowhere to hide. :o)

      And HAHAHA :-D Your toothbrush story made me smile with big pearly whites! xD Interesting you chose the cheapest ... I'd say it depends entirely on the nature of product, usage / frequency, perceived importance and of course: Brand loyalty!

      I also like how you dismissed some sites in a split second — Testament to CX beginning from the very first touchpoint!!!

      #YouRock

    • EE

      Erik Emanuelli

      over 2 years ago #

      Not always the cheaper price grants the best experience.
      For my brother's birthday, among the other gifts I bought for him, I purchased a T-Shirt, branded Jack Daniel's. At Amazon, there were two options for the same item: one from China, priced 6 euro, and one from Germany, priced 20 euro. Guess what I chose?

      • SH

        Sam Hurley

        over 2 years ago #

        Nice example, Erik. Security, assurance and trust go a long way — it's no different with pricing. Much cheaper prices can lead to alarm bells in the customer's mind, for sure...

  • RB

    Ryan Biddulph

    over 2 years ago #

    Experience above all else Erik and Sam. Love it. Versus trying to force things after you mucked stuff up, business-wise, make the experience pleasant, service-based and enjoyable, and this party vibe Bezos speaks of will lead to you being an awesome host, and the customer having a fun time. People return to where they have plenty of fun, and that means they get their product or service and you get your sales. Fab post guys.

    Ryan

    • SH

      Sam Hurley

      over 2 years ago #

      #KAPOW, Ryan! :o)

      All about the massive smiles! They are infectious ... And so is the (free) word of mouth marketing that a brand receives when they host an awesome party! Jeff leads the way and has been for many years. So inspiring! >>>>>

      Thanks for your time + kind words, pal! xD

    • EE

      Erik Emanuelli

      over 2 years ago #

      Agreed, Ryan! Wise words!

  • SA

    Swadhin Agrawal

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Erik, thanks for sharing such a wonderful post. I think customers are like our boss and not the other way around.

    If we treat our customers as we'd like to get treated ourselves, that would be a monumental success. And perfectly said Sam, we may not remember the price but we definitely remember the experience. Been there, done that.

    I too have an article (requires a bit of updating, though) on relationship marketing that perfectly fits the conversation.

    Link here: https://www.digitalgyd.com/relationship-marketing-strategies-for-businesses-bloggers/

    Cheers!

    -Swadhin

    • EE

      Erik Emanuelli

      over 2 years ago #

      Good to hear you liked the content I shared, Swadhin.
      Sam nailed it with this piece.

      Thanks for posting that article, I'll check it out.

    • SH

      Sam Hurley

      over 2 years ago #

      "I think customers are like our boss and not the other way around."

      Couldn't have said it better, Swadhin! Treat people as you'd like to be treated ... That's my philosophy in life AND business.

      Loving your piece — Great job on the share total! I'll also be sharing on Twitter ASAP.

      Cheers bud! :o)

  • SH

    Sam Hurley

    over 2 years ago #

    Thanks a bunch for sharing this **BIG** CX guide with the GH peeps @erikemanuelli! :D

    What impacted you the most when reading? >>>>>

    Some of the recent, customer-centric innovations from brands are simply world class!

    Cheers, bud!
    Sam :o)

    • EE

      Erik Emanuelli

      over 2 years ago #

      You nailed it, Sam!
      What an interesting piece.

      I'm particularly attracted by the trend #3: Real-Time Personalization.
      It's amazing how much AI can do nowadays. How the future will be, then, I wonder???

      • SH

        Sam Hurley

        over 2 years ago #

        Thanks Erik! Much appreciated!!! xD

        I'm not sure I want to know the future ... I think past our lifetime, it's going to be a little crazy (and a lot less jobs)! :-O

        For now — We can enjoy being here to experience the gradual shift!

  • CR

    Cori Ramos

    over 2 years ago #

    Hi Sam,

    This is a great post! I remember when I worked in Corporate America they were big on customer service. Anything that was construed as a 'customer mistreat' was grounds for dismissal - they were not playing when it came to this.

    You are right that customer service is the single most important component of success and growth. And working in the online world, it's so easy to lose focus on that. What with new tools to play with that will keep just about everything automated - it's no wonder.

    And I agree with Tiffani Bova. Customers will always remember the experience they'll have with our brand much longer than they will our product.

    Thanks for the great article and conversation!

    Have a great rest of the week.

    Cori

    • EE

      Erik Emanuelli

      over 2 years ago #

      Customers will always remember their experience and, most important, they will share it with their circles.
      Oh, word of mouth, the most powerful marketing channel. :)

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