Customer experience is fast becoming the central element of small business marketing.
In the past, it was not unusual for businesses to spend marketing dollars on brand, advertisement, and promotion. After all, many business owners believed that was all there was to marketing.
Successful small business owners evolved past that thinking and began to use strategy to their advantage. Specifically, they began to assemble and utilize strategic marketing elements like ideal customer profiles, well-defined messages, and recognizable branding to achieve better marketing results and separate themselves from their competition.
Even though the sophistication of both marketing strategy and marketing tactics has increased, one element has remained the same: your need for happy customers.
Happy customers are a valuable asset for your company. In fact, customer experience was quantified in this Harvard Business Review article and this study conducted by Lithium. Their findings indicate happy customers spend more money, tell others, and are less expensive to serve than unhappy customers.
There is little doubt that investing in customer experience is a good thing. Yes, I said investing.
I can almost hear the thoughts in your head…”Ok, but my customers are already happy – they say I have good customer service. I don’t need to invest in customer experience”.
This is where there seems to be a point of confusion. You may think the terms “customer experience” and “customer service” as synonyms. They’re not. They are actually very different.
The Definition of Customer Experience and Customer Service
At Valens Point, we define customer experience as the outcome of all of the interactions between your customer and your business. Interactions include awareness, discovery, nurturing, trust building, buying, and value delivery. The purpose of crafting a customer experience is to create a positive emotional outcome that the customer associates with your business.
We define customer service as the support delivered by your business for your customer at the time of purchase and immediately after. Post purchase support is usually reactionary, although great companies attempt to be proactive. Customer service is an element of Customer experience.
The Overall Importance of Customer Experience and Customer Service
Customer experience and customer service are both key elements of any marketing strategy. But they are not the same.
Turning customers into repeat customers is a huge marketing advantage from a cost perspective – since it can cost 5-10x more to acquire a new customer (advertising costs, etc.) than to retain one. You retain customers based on good customer experience.
Turning repeat customers into business advocates (referrals) is the ultimate testament to the success of your highly-tuned customer experience. Referral leads from ideal customers to people just like them, is the true marketing results outcome of your marketing system.
If you’d like to learn how to build your customer experience into a strategic marketing asset, download this eBook: How to Build a Remarkable Business by Focusing on the Total Customers Experience. You’ll learn how to get customers to transition through what we call the Marketing Hourglass (Know, Like, Trust, Try, Buy, Repeat, Refer).