Everything you need to know about customer experience, including: CX meaning, tools, strategies, measurements, and real life examples.
Before a band like the Weeknd or U2 takes the stage, there is a ton of work and coordination with scores of people involved. Nothing is left to chance. The same goes for delivering the best customer experience.
Staying relevant and competitive today requires more than simply selling a product. You can’t just hop on stage and expect applause. To be successful, the overall customer experience must be considered and carefully managed.
No time for losers: Deliver the best customer experience
Going back to our music industry example, bands and performers can’t just produce a few good songs and expect people to show up for a concert. That may have been the case back in the day, but today, audiences and customers expect a lot more. Competition is stiff. For large-scale success, much more is needed than a few good old songs.
Likewise, leading companies realize the importance of customer experience for growing their business and focus on creating the best CX possible. They’ve moved away from a random hit-or-miss approach. Now, they’re providing their customers with an intentional, engineered, and differentiated end-to-end experience that’s aligned with their brand promise and can be replicated consistently.
Let’s draw more comparisons from the music industry for inspiration on how to deliver the best customer experience.
Producing excellent CX: We will, we will rock you
A minimum expectation for most concertgoers is that the band is on stage on time (however, did Axel Rose ever turn up on time?), and that all band members are available along with the necessary instruments. We expect each band member knows how to play their instrument, knows the songs, and that they all play the same song at the same time and in sync. Not all bands deliver on these seemingly basic items.
Some time ago, innovative bands started to consider elements not strictly limited to music as part of their “offering,” including selecting the right location, defining the light show (every Pink Floyd concert from day 1), ensuring good sound quality, and adding cool merchandising.
For the largest bands, this meant using sometimes more than one hundred trucks (U2’s 360 tour had 180 trucks), or multiple Airbus 747s ( Beyoncé used 7), to transport everything at their tours. All of this equipment was used to provide a consistent and spectacular experience to their fans.
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Similarly, companies need to put a lot of work into the customer experience in order to meet customer expectations. Without a careful and coordinated approach to CX, you can’t expect customers to come to the show, let alone stick around for the entire set.
Delivering the best customer experience requires teamwork across the organization, including:
- Customer service
- Ordering and fulfillment
Employees is these departments all need to understand their roles and be in sync; one missing piece can ruin CX.
Pre-show prep and post-show opportunity
Lately, top bands have realized the importance of the larger “customer journey” to customer experience — what happens before, during, and after the concert. Prior to the concert, bands use email and social media – including communities – to engage with fans. They share information about previous and current albums, recent concerts, and how to get to and from the event in a simple and safe manner.
Some bands are doing this in a highly professional manner using state-of-the-art CRM software. And of course, they don’t miss the opportunity to sell some special-edition albums or other merchandise.
If given the option of having one of your favorite sweet treats now, or waiting and getting two of those treats later, which would you choose? That’s the question professor Walter Mischel of Stanford University asked in the early 1970s, when he and his colleagues conducted the now famous Marshmallow Experiment. In the experiment, he…
In the same way a band needs to deliver their songs at concerts, any company continuously need to provide the right product at the right time and at the right quality in order to meet the very minimum expectations of our customers. But beyond that, there is a whole world of opportunities to set yourself apart from the competition and provide a better customer experience in an intentional, engineered and managed manner, going beyond the actual products and their functionality.
Finding new ways to rock it
As we are all aware, COVID put a stop to live concerts with fans. However, artists are finding new ways to engage with customers using digital technologies.
Artists like Kevin Devine and Alice Cooper set up communities that get access to streamed concerts where they performs songs on request; there are even opportunities fans to interact with the artist and ask questions. Others are attracting new audiences by arranging larger scale virtual concerts. Some of the new fans may turn into super fans.
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Companies also are using digital technologies to create new ways to engage with their customers during the COVID era. They’ve gone into hyperdrive on e-commerce and stepped up communications through digital channels, including virtual meetings and events. They’re also stepping up manufacturing, promotions, fulfillment and delivering and reinforcing their supply chains.
By taking a cue from the music industry, companies from all industries can improve customer experience, increase engagement, improve processes, grow their customer base and build loyal customers.