The two E’s of Customers – Engagement & Experience

You know what happened? I and mother went to Mocha for dinner on Mother’s Day. And just when we were done with the food and the bill, those people gave us a free cake as a gesture to all the mothers” said my sister excitingly more than a year back. 

Mocha offered ‘free cakes’ as a ‘gesture’. Notice the words ‘free’ and ‘gesture’.

Do you remember the bell near the exit which kids love to ring when they go to a Pizza Hut outlet? Think why was the bell strategically placed near the exit, and why are the customers asked to ring it while leaving?

Try to think something.

Done?

Alright. It acts as a symbol that the customer had a good time at the outlet. And you would have also noticed once you ring the bell, the waiters and employees of that outlet shout out a loud ‘Thank You’. Yes? Now, do you remember?

Do you know IKEA opened up its first store in India in 2018? And it has a 1000-seater restaurant inside the store? Okay then. It does not have the traditional way of ordering food or a self-service model. It has a model where the customers are asked to pick up trolleys and put food of their own choice in those trolleys. Fresh and hot food items are on display in the restaurant. 

Now, why am I beating around the bush rather than coming straight to the point? Because that is exactly my point. 

These are a few examples of good customer experience (CX) to people, and when we talk about CX, we do not have a straight point to implement. It can come in a variety of ways.

So, what exactly is customer experience?

It is basically how customers feel for your brand, how do they remember your brand, and what impression your brand/product/service has on your customer. It shows how your brand is perceived by the customers you are targeting. It is not just a single factor, there is a multitude of factors responsible for customer experience. Every single interaction which your customer has with your business, be it any mode or channel, CX is a result of it.

In simple language, what experience does the customer have in relation to your business is CX.

My sister will always remember Mocha for that cake. Kids still remember Pizza Hut as the place where they used to ring a bell. 

You don’t go to Pizza Hut for the variety of pizzas it offers. I mean, most of you do. But that bell near the exit; that experience of having a hot pizza laid out in front of you from a pan – which constitutes the trademark ‘Pan Pizza’ is all a part of your customer experience. IKEA doesn’t just sell food through its restaurant. It sells a new way of picking up food. It sells a new experience.

You don’t go to a high-end restaurant for its food. You go for the ambience it provides, the look and feel it has. You go for the ‘experience’.

You don’t generally go to Starbucks for its coffee and cookies. Sometimes you also go to Starbucks to just get that cup of coffee which has your name on it.

For CX to go well, defining a customer journey – which includes all the different customer touchpoints your business has – will definitely help you in identifying where exactly do you need to buckle up.

As an example, I’ll take a company who operates high-end restaurants in the town. For that particular restaurant, the touchpoints mentioned in the image below are those which a customer comes in contact with. 

A high-end restaurant has different customer touch points.

Be it their website, or their blog posts, or their social media handles, or their mobile application, every touchpoint needs to be aligned with the customer expectations. Maybe the customer comes for the ambience to its outlet, and the experience can be doubled with a greeting message from your WhatsApp handle or a push notification from the app giving the customer an offer. Who doesn’t want an offer? After all, why does my sister still remember the cake she got?

Speaking of the benefits what CX has, the biggest benefit is that CX makes your customers happy. And that is what each product and each brand is aiming for – to make the customer happy in all aspects of his business. A happy customer has more engagement, brings in more sales, increased revenues, brand loyalty. Then one day, you’ll find more customers – due to WOM & positive reviews. Slowly, you’ll find more and more customers staying with your brand – you don’t need a budget to retain them now. They already are retained. Congratulations! You have new leads now, which means more awareness, and ultimately more sales. Do you understand the chronology?

CX determines your future chances & prospects. You have to make your every touchpoint enjoyable. You got to improve it through well-placed and targeted feedback systems placed at every step of the customer journey. You need to have a level of personalization. You need to have a balance between automated systems and human touch. 

Today. Brands sell convenience, which leads to the best CX.

Now. Once you have set your path for providing the best experience, the next task is to measure it. And few metrics to measure CX are:

Customer Experience Metrics

Wait! It’s not over yet!

Whenever we talk about CX, I am pretty sure most of you remember Starbucks. Even if you haven’t been there, you pretty well know to what level Starbucks has reached in providing a customer experience to people. Their sole focus was to increase multi-channel customer engagement. 

The Starbucks Customer Experience

You have heard about CRM – Customer Relationship Management, right? There is this one thing related to CX, which is Customer Experience Management (CEM). We’ll be talking about it in later articles. Till then, do some research and leave your thoughts in the comments. Happy Learning!

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