Today’s marketplace, both online and in brick and mortar stores, has become increasingly competitive. The wants and the needs of consumers have changed dramatically – no longer are consumers only looking for the best price – they are looking for a positive experience and, in many cases, continuous engagement from the brand. Subsequently, businesses must adapt by using multiple marketing channels to provide positive consumer engagement and remain competitive.
Why do Consumers Care More About Experience than Price?
Understanding exactly why consumer needs and wants have changed will enable you to better tailor your future marketing endeavors. Put simply, consumers are used to getting what they want. And with the amount of competition in the marketplace, businesses have been putting in the extra effort to give consumers what they want and more. As a result, consumers have come to expect much more than a good price. With a society so accustomed to engaging with businesses on social media, the expectation of a good customer experience has become the norm.
But social media engagement is just one part of it. Businesses need to focus on multiple marketing channels and elements to ensure that the experience they deliver rivals the competition.
The Importance of Your Brand
Your brand image has become more important an ever. We are in a time when brand crises make headline news and a few negative reviews can quickly go viral and ruin a company’s reputation with its customer base. Maintaining your brand image must be a top consideration in any marketing endeavor.
Consumers today don’t stand around so much talking about prices—they talk instead about experiences. And they have a lot to say. They’ll say it to friends and family, on review websites, and on social media. And ultimately, what people read and discover about other people’s experiences will, in turn, help them make their own decision about who they will do business with.
The Importance of Customer Service
Sure, you’ve heard it plenty—customer service is important! But do you know how important it really is? When you consider that 50% of Americans will say no to a purchase because of bad customer service and that 33% are likely to choose another company after just one instance of bad customer service, it suddenly seems very important, doesn’t it?
And maybe your company prides itself on delivering great customer service. But how do you know you are giving the consumer the customer service experience they expect? Do you base your findings on actual marketing research? Do you read online reviews about your company to see what consumers are saying? If you’re not, you should be doing that and a whole lot more.
Because let’s face it—good customer service is just the bare minimum of what consumers expect today. To truly stand out from your competitors and in the minds of your target market, you’ve got to deliver excellent customer service. And that doesn’t just start and stop with the beginning and closing of a sale.
The whole landscape has changed—you’ve got to think of customer service as another critical component of your marketing strategy. Communicating and engaging with consumers via social media channels, whether they are currently making a purchase or not, is a big part of shaping the customer experience and maintaining a competitive edge.
Likewise, responding to negative reviews and attempting to resolve any issues positively also shows consumers that you care about them after the sale.
Why Time is an Important Part of the Consumer Experience
We live in a world of instant gratification. Everybody now wants and expects to have everything they need as quickly as possible. Are we all too demanding? Maybe, but with so many companies catering to meet those demands, nothing is bound to change any time soon.
As a result, you’ve got to meet consumer demands quickly. Answer a question quickly on social media, and you’ve just improved their consumer experience. Wait too long to answer, (or don’t answer at all) and you’ve created a negative consumer experience. Keeping potential customers waiting too long in the dealership, appearing as though you don’t really have time for them, or not returning phone calls in a timely fashion also creates both a negative customer service experience and a negative overall consumer experience.
Consumers place a large value on their time, and they don’t like to have it wasted. Value their time, and it will make a big impact on their overall consumer experience.
And if you can deliver positive experiences across the board, you’ll increase sales, brand loyalty, and brand image, even if your prices are higher than a competitor’s. Millennials, in particular, are willing to spend a lot more on a purchase if they receive great customer service and experience. And that trend is continuing with later generations. So, be consistent, be proactive, be engaging—be the experience.