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22 How to Create the Ultimate Customer Experience

Everyone talks about creating a great customer experience, but few people really deliver one that’s special in any way. Creating an exceptional customer experience is pretty simple really – you only need to do one thing – pay attention.

Customer Touchpoint Map

Click to Download Map Form

Okay, I know you want more than that so I’ll expand on this thought and then break it back down again.

We lose customers and erode what could be a great customer experience when we fail to pay attention to every possible way that our business comes into contact with a customer, or for that matter, a prospect.

Everyone works in the marketing department

No matter what department bumps into a customer in the name of your business that department is performing a marketing and overall customer experience function.

So you see Stan from Accounting is equally capable of creating or ruining a great customer experience as Sandy from Customer Service, but I wonder how often you pay attention to that fact.

There’s plenty of evidence out there to suggest that our perceived experience with a company is often formed by our last contact, not the first impression, put on your Sunday best, marketing contact we’ve had.

Map the touchpoints

One of the most potent tools you can create for your business is something I call a Customer TouchPoint Map. (Click to download sample map form) The idea behind this tool is to use it to chart every way your business comes into, or should come into, contact with a customer and then set out to make sure that each touchpoint is designed to create a better customer experience. (This dovetails nicely with our Marketing Hourglass)

See, we’ve been trained to think that the marketing department is the only place where marketing messages, brand flourishes and little things matter.

One of the most effective marketing things the Natural Running Store did for me as a customer is slip a handwritten note and some samples from strategic partners into the box of running shoes I purchased recently.

What if your invoices had humorous quotes related to how super-excited you were to present them with this representation of the value delivered in every order? What if you delivered products on a bike?

What if you made it a point to follow-up with every customer using a simple tool that made it easy for them to vote on how good of a job you did? What if your CEO wrote hand-written notes of thanks?

What if you sent timely messages with videos educating customers on how to use or get more from their purchase? What if you included more than they expected?

What if you sent them flowers just because? What if your phone hold message wasn’t painful to listen too? What if you wrapped your shipments in works from local artists? What if . . .

All of the things mentioned above are examples of touches that could enhance your customer experience and get people talking, but it’s the collective focus on the entire map that really pays off.

It’s not really that hard, map it out – pay attention to how your business comes into contact with customers and make every touchpoint, with every department, thoughtful and downright enjoyable.

Need more tips on how to grow your business? Check out our entire Guide to Marketing Professional Services.

167 Why Social Media Doesn't Matter Anymore

Talk to the handThe hype over social media still echos, but it just doesn’t really matter anymore. Recent surveys suggest that small businesses are still slow to adopt social media and it also doesn’t matter anymore. Social media agencies, departments, and experts don’t matter anymore.

The idea behind the hype, measurement and rush to claim guru status revolved around the tools and the platforms, all of which were new, none of which really were the point.

The reason social media doesn’t matter is because, upon further review, it doesn’t exist beyond a label. While all the categorizing, classifying and departmentalizing was going on, that which was called social media simply settled into the center of marketing and business strategy and behavior. Everything that we called social media is irrelevant and mislabed – there’s a new way of doing business and marketing for sure, but it’s a behavior and focus on customer involvement that’s become a new norm – and that’s all there is to it.

We don’t need social media tools, social media plans, social media agencies, or social media departments, we need marketing strategies and tactics that are informed by a terribly heightened customer expectation. I’m not the first marketer to suggest this for sure, the idea of engagement has always been a part of the social media thread, but we aren’t moving fast enough to stamp out this idea that social media is somehow still a new and meaningful concept – now that we understand what actually happened it’s time to drop the term, concept, and confusion and focus on what really matters.

Prospect engagement matters

If we’ve learned one thing over the last year or two, it’s that prospects are drawn to the ability to interact with the companies, brands, and messages that they choose to absorb. Marketing and sales must include this desired behavior in order to even get an invitation into the prospect’s decision making world.

Customer experience matters

Traditional lead generation is dead, we’ve all accepted this by now, but what’s replaced it? If being found by prospects is the new form of lead generation awareness, then trust is the new form of lead conversion. Trust happens rapidly when customers have an experience worth talking about. A remarkable customer experience is the most effective form of lead generation

Collaboration matters

The Internet has enabled a world where we can work in conjunction with prospects, customers, suppliers, mentors, advisors, and staff in ways that make the finished work a personalized experience infused with the real time input. Community sourcing is a practice that underpins all product, service and business development activities.

Fusion matters

Another powerful lesson gained over the last few years is that offline activity is enhanced, rather than replaced, by online activity. The careful fusion of hi touch business building that’s done face to face with hi tech business building that enables more frequent, personalized contact and communication is the secret to delivering the most advanced customer experience.

Let’s stop measuring adoption of social media and go to work on simply measuring effective interaction in marketing. I suppose as much as anything this is the major thread that runs through The Referral Engine