What draws a customer back to a brand? Is it the brand, the continuous engagement, and the customer experience it provides?
Ideally, it’s the combination of all these, but customer experience (CX) is slowly inching forward as the single most important factor in customer retention. From continuous health data on your smartwatch to banking apps that constantly monitor and message clients on the best investment options to simple grocery apps that know what you need before you do, brands are leveraging data to optimize their customer experiences. In their book ‘Connected Strategy: Building Continuous Customer Relationships for Competitive Advantage,’ authors Nicolaj Siggelkow and Christian Terwiesch highlight seamless customer experiences that offer a powerful competitive advantage as post-pandemic trends show companies refashioning the way they interact with their customers. Customer Experience is that singular touch point that can drive revenue as a Growth Hack and build lasting relationships, leaving an Impact Trail.
The focus of Growth Marketing has been on using valuable customer data gleaned from the various marketing campaigns and experimentations across different channels consumers frequently visit. Seamless customer experiences across these channels produce stickiness for the consumer, resulting in customer retention and, additionally, creating lifetime value. However, it becomes imperative to have a holistic plan, focusing on relevant touch points throughout the Customer Journey that will materialize into a long-lasting relationship. Identifying customer interaction patterns and preferences via surveys, onboarding programs, and social media behavior and engagement patterns helps build efficient loyalty and referral programs that reflect customer interests.
Steering clear of pain points when creating customer experiences is another important way to build and maintain loyalty. Leaving an impact is essential for building brand visibility and maintaining consumer interest, but not at the cost of personalization or relevance.
For example, unwarranted notifications and unsolicited emails and messages can turn off customers, pushing them to unsubscribe and fraying the customer experience. Constant Contact, in their July 2023 report, highlighted the overall open rate for emails across industries stands at 34.46%. Optimizing those numbers requires a precise call to action that stems from a sound understanding of customer needs when trying to impress them with experiences.
In 2023, the customer doesn’t want generic or outdated content. The trends point to what’s current, competent, and customized messaging. Updating websites and apps based on recent consumer metrics is critical to maintain relevance and retain interest. Keeping the messaging simple, error-free, and with a personal touch is completely necessary to improve experiences, especially when the frequency of communications is high and is expected to generate responses of some sort.
Needless to say, the trail of customer experiences that fail to connect with customers emotionally are those not backed by data. A weak impact trail is equivalent to failing to generate a favorable emotional response, resulting in a lower Customer Experience Index ( CX Index) score. The Forrester US CX Index 2022 saw a score drop for 19% of brands, as they failed to elicit “feel-good” emotions that allow consumers to create strong brand connections. Effective CX is bolstered by an omnichannel presence for a brand that showcases relevant solutions instead of only providing a smorgasbord of options.
In conclusion, using Customer Experience as a metric of success, leaving an impressive impact trail is a 360° exercise with a firm focus on curated, continuous, and customized attention to the customer. For a brand, seamless Customer Experiences can amount to both in the long-term - a growth hack and an impact trail that can retain customers for life.
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