CX Isn’t Hard, It’s Common Sense

I continue to urge companies to differentiate on the basis of customer experience — the bar is so low, it’s doesn’t take a lot of effort or money to impress. Just some common sense.

I just returned a pair of shoes to New Balance that didn’t fit. New Balance sent them back to me because it didn’t have the cheap insoles that came with them. I bought a pair of $45 insoles to go with the shoes and threw the cheap ones away. Luckily, I had already bought replacement shoes and had not thrown those insoles out, so UPS is getting revenue from two unnecessary shipments.

Obviously, New Balance has a policy about what constitutes “like new condition.” “Missing insoles” renders the shoes to be deemed “not in like new condition,” regardless of what else the customer ordered — $45 insoles, $70 pants and another pair of $80 shoes — enough to earn “silver” status in its myNBrewards program.

I was in the process of changing from Asics to New Balance, because my workout routine has changed. But New Balance has made a less than positive impression. While the company has mapped the customer journey, it didn’t get to the point where it considered returns.

In the future, I’ll deal with Zappos. The business makes it simpler and easier for me to buy and return shoes.

What’s the first impression your company, product or service makes on a prospective customer? Are your parking lots/garages clean? Are your entries/exits clean? Are your bathrooms clean? Do you offer free, easy to access, Wi-Fi? Is your website secure, easy to navigate and purchase from?

These are basic considerations for any business, whether B2B or B2C. Artificial intelligence and machine learning will ultimately help improve the customer experience, but you will still need people to help you make a positive first impression. A first impression is critical if you’re going to turn a prospect into a customer for which you can provide an experience.

I continue to urge companies to differentiate on the basis of customer experience — the bar is so low, it’s doesn’t take a lot of effort or money to impress. Just some common sense.

Experiences Cut Through the Noise

We live in a world where all forms of information — from the hottest entertainment to the most niche marketing messages — are a finger click away. They’re ubiquitous. They’re more and more boring! But people will still pay attention to an experience.

Experiences MatterI think maybe we’re missing the lesson behind the success of Pokémon Go, and a few other things that have grown more popular among younger adults in recent years (city living, Fitbits, boutique food, the rise of pop culture conventions): Experiences matter.

We live in a world where all forms of information — from the hottest entertainment to the most niche gadgets — are a finger click away. They’re ubiquitous. They’re more and more boring!

But people will still pay attention to an experience.

They want to pay attention to experiences! They’re hungry for them. The more online and virtual life gets, the more people want to leave the house and get their hands and feet into what they’re doing.

Despite the fears of some prognosticators, Americans are not going quietly into that good night of Wall-E fat-o-loungers.

Scene from Wall-E
Pixar knows what scares us better than Stephen King.

Give people something they want to do, and they’ll leap at the opportunity to do it.

How Can You Use Experiences in Your Marketing?

Pokémon Go has people looking all over the real world to find and train Pokémon, from school yards to downtown monuments. Those are experiences. They create memories. And those memories will forever be linked to the Pokémon brand.

Offering an experience can take a lot of forms. Many party-friendly brands like beer and soft drinks put on summer parties or concerts. Remember Bud Light’s “Anywhere USA” campaign last year? Contests that ask viewers to create a video or something else that takes effort can also be great experiences.

Those are pretty obvious experiences, but I think something like Zappos’s #ImNotABox box counts too. Look at how engaging with this box engages Melissa and Rob in this video, and how it reinforces the Zappos brand as a personal experience to them.

More Experiences Mean More Sales

Marketers know that the more channels you get someone to engage with you on, the more likely they are to make repeat purchases. Similarly, sales people know that every small action you can get your prospect to take (take the call, have a cup of coffee, look at our website with me, critique their current bill, etc.) is one step closer to saying yes to the sale.

Connect those dots: There’s more noise and information than ever before, it’s boring, and it’s in the way of your marketing getting to your target market. They’re glutted on information, but hungry for experiences. Every experience you get them to participate in brings them one step closer to making purchases and becoming repeat customers.

Think about what experiences your target market wants and how you can give it to them. If you can get them to make a connection with you there, you’re a lot more likely to make a connection with their wallets later.