Moving Toward a Culture of Customer Experience
By: Mark Johnson, Loyalty360
The prioritization of
customer experience is becoming more important for brands and marketers across
almost every industry. New engagement channels and evolving customer behaviors
are combining with constantly emerging technologies to give consumers more
choice, flexibly, and power than ever before. This is making successful
customer engagement both difficult and daunting for many brands. But it is also
presenting a host of new and exciting opportunities.
Effective engagement now
demands that brands truly listen and respond to the changing needs and wants of
their customers. Consumers are willing to offer their loyalty to the brands
that put the effort into developing the authentic, personalized, relevant, and
meaningful customer experiences that actually resonate.
Of course, this can all mean
very different things to many different customer segments. But it is up to the
brands to understand, target, and engage these segments accordingly.
Loyalty360’s upcoming Engagement and Experience Expo is an event that is dedicating to helping brands
and marketers achieve this goal. And with this in mind, we asked a number of
leading marketing professionals what customer experience means to them, and how
it fits within their respective organizations.
Artemio Garza, Meineke Chief Marketing Officer:
Customer experience is about
building a long lasting relationship with customers. It is not about getting
them in for a single transaction. It is about making sure that they keep coming
back throughout the years. To do that, we think it is important to know our
customers, understand what their needs are, and employ the right tools to
provide accurate, timely information about their cars.
That is what we are trying to
do. The whole objective is to make it easier for consumers to do business with
us. Because we understand that getting your oil changed or getting your brakes
fixed is not the most exciting activity, we try to at least make it very
We also know that today’s
consumer is very savvy. They know that all the information is out there. More
and more, they are expecting real-time and personalized information on their
purchases. So that is how we prioritize customer experience. We think about
what exactly to tell consumers, when to tell them, how to best use the data
that we have, and, most importantly, how can we integrate all that information
into a palatable format for their knowledge.
In the past, we used basic
data like car maintenance and make & model to try to personalize things,
but there is more that we can tie into that. We look at the customer’s online
experience, what they click, what they purchase, what day they come get their
oil changed, and so on. This information helps personalize offers that make
sense for their routine and to their habits. So, it is not just about
understanding the hard data on the car. It is also about understanding the
habits of our consumers, to make sure that we are communicating something
useful to them. That is the priority.
Al Perkinson, Costa Sunglasses Vice President
For Costa, customer
experience is not really a marketing tactic as much as it is a full company
commitment. The brand is the company. It is not something that happens in a
marketing department. A part of it is our attitude about the community. We are
part of the community, and we want people to be a part of the brand. There is a
constant feedback loop.
We are at the fishing
tournaments and boat shows where our customers are. We have a lifetime warranty
so we repair over 100,000 pairs of sunglasses a year. And we are always on the
phones with them. Also, when people call us there is not a voice mail. We talk
to them directly. Many customers seem to think of us as a friend, and send us
letters and pictures frequently. It is all very much connected. Unlike
traditional marketing that acts as more of a conquest, our goal instead is to become
a community member.
There is a belief at Costa
that people have become disconnected from their world, and from where and how
their products are made. People miss that connection to things in their life.
It is almost a human need for community, and there has been a movement to
reconnect. Brands that are real and authentic, and allow for that connection,
have become more popular. And we have tapped into that.
We look at communities much
like a cultural anthropologist might. We have identified key things within
communities that drive actions. And we have people from those communities who
actually work at Costa, and manage all of our activities and communications
Luc Garneau, DataCandy Vice President of
For me, customer experience
is anything that relates to the interaction between a customer and the brand.
That’s at the store level or through social media, or any other channel.
Basically, everything is about that experience because that will eventually
But there is just so much
noise in the market now. I think many brands are more likely to be lost in
terms of the technology they should use, and in terms of the strategies they
need to use. They don’t know how to tie it into customer experience.
So simplicity and relevance
are critical. Since brands don’t necessarily know where to go with all the
technology and social media channels, they need to be reassured in terms of
what makes sense for their type of business. Some ideas always sound good on
paper, but in real life they end up being too complicated.
Secondly, and I know its been
a buzz word for years, but with personalization now becoming much more properly
executed, relevance is now even more key. Brands need to understand that
customers expect that kind of experience now, which should be fully
integrated in the store, out of the store, online, through social media, and so
All that needs to be integrated. And I want to make sure
that customer experience is really the driver of customer engagement. The
better you’re able to manage customer experience, the more engaged customers
About the Author: Mark
Mark is CEO & CMO of Loyalty360. He has significant experience
in selling, designing and administering prepaid, loyalty/CRM programs, as well
as data-driven marketing communication programs.