Brand Experience and Customer Experience Are One in the Same
True there are many components that go into a brand, but all are rooted in the customer experience, keep reading.
Photo by JuniperPhoton on Unsplash
If you really want to build a brand or take your brand to the next level focus on Improving the Customer Experience.
How can you take your brand to the next level? Improve the customer experience.
If you can elevate the experience customers have with your company, they’ll be more likely to spread the good word about your business and support it long-term. And that, in turn, leads to a positive, strong brand reputation.
Keep reading for guidance on enhancing your brand by improving customer experience.
Elevate Your Brand Storytelling First
Brand storytelling is the process of establishing a genuine emotional connection with people through the narratives you share around your company’s existence, mission, and values.
Brand storytelling is critical because it shapes your identity. It also influences how customers see and interact with your brand.
Keeping these best practices at the core of your brand storytelling will help enhance the customer experience.
Make People Feel
Reciting your core values and showing them are two very different things. People might understand the former. But they’ll feel the latter. And that’s ultimately what you want your brand storytelling to do. Make people feel something.
If customers have an emotional connection with your brand, they’re more likely to become loyal to it. Authenticity is the key to inciting emotions in those that come across your brand.
For example, show how your brand embraces individuality and creativity by sharing videos and testimonials from your unique employees. Incorporate user-generated content to show the impact your products or services have had on customers.
Be authentic and make people feel when telling your brand’s story.
Get Into a Publishing Groove
Your brand storytelling can’t be limited to the about page on your website. People need way more than that to form a true connection with your brand. You must continuously publish content around who you are and what you represent.
A publishing workflow will do the trick. This is simply the process your content goes through from conception to completion. How do you come up with a brand storytelling idea, create the content, and get it published?
Establish clear steps for each to ensure you’re churning out content that tells your brand’s story regularly.
Master Different Channels and Content Types
Everyone’s content and channel preferences are different. So, if you want more people to develop an emotional connection with your brand, share information about it in different ways. This means mastering various channels and content types.
Create brand storytelling content for your:
- Direct mail;
- Social media;
- Email list.
And go beyond the written word, incorporating:
- live streams
- interactive polls and surveys
Telling your story on different channels via various content types creates the opportunity for more people to emotionally connect with your brand.
Capitalize on Trends and Current Events
One of the best ways to get your brand’s story out there is to throw yourself into trends and current events. Current events and trends are the most relevant issues and activities happening at the time. People are actively looking for and consuming content around these things.
Inserting your brand into them makes it more likely you’ll show up in customers’ newsfeeds, social media timelines, emails, or other communication channels.
You don’t have to give your two cents on every current event or hop on every trend. Instead, choose those that your brand and customers value. Whether it’s a meaningful blog post about a current event your products help with or your team doing a relevant business challenge on Tik Tok, capitalize on what’s important to you and your customers.
You won’t know what kind of impact your brand storytelling has if you don’t track it. Measuring the success of your brand storytelling is imperative to understand the strength and reputation of your brand. It’s also important for learning about its impact on the customer experience.
Start by tracking each piece of content you put out related to telling your brand’s story. Note the content getting the most engagement and answer the following questions:
- What about it attracts customers?
- How often do they view it?
- What links are they visiting?
- How many times is it shared?
Document the content that isn’t getting much interaction from customers, as well, by asking:
- Why do you think this is?
- What’s different about this content compared to the content that’s getting the most engagement?
- How can it be improved?
The more you learn about your brand storytelling, the easier it is to adjust it for better results in the future.
Hone in on Elements of the Customer Experience
In addition to working on your brand storytelling, honing in on improving the customer experience is crucial. When the customer experience is the best it can be, you’ll retain more customers long-term.
Returning customers along with a constant influx of new ones indicates a strong brand and business to the public. Better the customer experience by implementing the advice below, and your brand will evolve too.
Don’t Make Customers Wait
There’s nothing like a 20-minute hold waiting to speak to a customer service representative. Or seven days before you get a response to your email. Or better yet, getting ghosted by a company entirely.
Extended wait times are a surefire way to frustrate customers and ruin their experience with your business. Don’t make your customers wait.
They shouldn’t be on hold for more than a minute or two. If it will be longer before you can get to them, at least answer their call and ask if they’d be willing to wait a little longer for service. Answer emails within 24 hours. And put a chatbot or live chat on your website to shorten wait times even more.
Implement Omnichannel Support
If customers can only contact you via email or phone for support, you’re hurting the customer experience. People have different communication preferences, especially when it comes to customer service support.
Offering multiple communication methods to your customers will help them feel more comfortable with your business. It’ll inspire them to continue their relationship with you too.
Be omnipresent for your customers. Open up lines of communication through:
- social media
- your company app
- SMS text
- live chat
Allow customers to communicate and engage with you across various channels to prioritize their comfort and unique needs.
Use Tech Trends to Your Advantage
A huge part of a top-tier customer experience is streamlined processes and systems. That’s where technology comes in. You want to use tech trends to your advantage to ensure the customer experience is seamless across touchpoints.
These tech trends can improve the experience for your customers:
- Video technology: Customers engage with video content the most right now. Purchase quality equipment to create stunning videos and give your customers what they want.
- Augmented reality (AR): Take the customer experience to the next level by immersing customers in AR experiences such as virtually trying on clothes.
- Artificial intelligence (AI): Take repetitive tasks like email responses and data entry off your plate with AI tools.
- Apps: A company app can offer customers a more personalized experience with your business, in which they can be rewarded for their loyalty and engagement.
- Data analytics: Collect data on your customers and their interactions with your business and use that information to tailor their experience.
This is a short list of tech trends that can enhance the customer experience. Do additional research on customer experience-related technology to ensure you’re choosing the right tools for your business and customer base.
But Stay Human
As useful as technology is in elevating the customer experience, you don’t want to stray too far away from the human touch. Technology may be able to streamline processes and systems. But these tools can’t give the empathy and understanding often needed in the customer journey.
Ensure your employees are at the core of creating the customer experience. This means:
- People leading departments rather than tech tools
- Ensuring customers can directly contact a real person
- Asking employees for feedback on the customer experience
- Hiring people that demonstrate empathy, understanding, and positivity
Humanizing everything you do in your business is key.
Ensure everyone is working from the same page
Aside from keeping humans at the core of the customer experience, you must also make sure those humans are working from the same page. In other words, keep your team communicative, collaborative, and connected.
This will build cohesion not just in your team, but also in the customer experience. For example, let’s say a customer calls your customer service line and needs help with a return. They start with a team member who helps them with why they want to make the return.
That team member enters all the information into your central system and sets up the customer to get the merchandise back to you. Whatever they enter updates in real-time.
So, when the customer is transferred to the finance department to initiate the return, they don’t have to repeat the information they gave to the first employee. This kind of cohesiveness makes the experience much better for the customer.
Be sure everyone is working from the same systems, processes, and guidelines.
Build Trust Through Transparency
According to Zippia, “66% of customers believe transparency is one of the most attractive qualities in a brand.”
Simply put, if you want to draw customers to your brand, you must be incredibly transparent with them. Doing so will also help them build trust with you, something so important to a positive customer experience.
Transparency looks like:
- Apologizing when you’re wrong;
- Letting customers know about any setbacks;
- Making your returns and refund policy clear;
- Telling customers when you don’t have an answer;
- Being honest about any issues your company has, like data breaches;
- Being honest about pricing and any additional fees a customer might incur;
- Letting customers know when they can expect their product and sticking to that timeline.
Openness is always the best way to go.
Focus on Accessibility
There is no improving the customer experience without a heavy focus on accessibility.
Putting accessibility at the forefront of everything you do ensures those living with a disability can engage with and enjoy your brand like anyone else. It also betters the experience for those not living with a disability.
If you have a physical store, improve accessibility in it by:
- Adding ramps along stairways
- Creating braille and large signage
- Being mindful of lighting and color use
- Removing excess clutter and storing stock safely
- Adding push-button doors and accessible parking spaces
- Widening aisles to ensure they’re suitable for wheelchairs and mobility aids
You also want to ensure your digital presence is accessible. Start with your website.
Use a responsive design. Ensure content is readable. Navigation should be simple. The less animation and bold color choices, the better. Use white space to your advantage. Make sure your pages load fast and that they’re appealing. Make sure people can use your site with screen readers and other aids too.
Check out these web accessibility standards to learn more about how you can make your digital presence accessible.
Allow Various Payment Options
So many people have issues with businesses because of their purchasing processes, specifically payment options. If you only take cash or checks, you’re missing out on a lot of business. You’re frustrating customers too.
Introducing digital payment options into the mix will make transactions easier for customers. You’ll also generate a lot more revenue for your business by accepting more than cash and checks. Consider including these digital payment options:
- Credit and debit cards;
- Mobile pay;
- QR payments.
Making a purchase is one of the core components of a customer’s experience. If you make paying easier, customers will be more inclined to come back.
Every business should prioritize elevating its brand. A strong, positive brand reputation is the key to attracting new customers and retaining them. Focus on improving the customer experience to take your brand to the next level. The guidance above will get you started.