Using Customer Experience To Develop Brand Advocates
In too many companies, the customer experience and the brand are thought of as two distinct entities. The brand resides with marketing while the customer experience is left with operations. Apart from a lack of communication between these groups, they are also operating with very different objectives (costs and efficiency vs sales and awareness).
The definition of the brand must be expanded to include all interactions between the company and their customer, especially the customer experience.
Some brands have done this really well. Apple comes to mind as a leader. They sell technology products, but the Apple store, one of the first branded product stores, is a key component in delivering their brand through the customer experience. If Apple products are about simplicity and ease of use, then these attributes must be included in the shopping and customer support functions as well. Taking control of these functions instead of outsourcing them entirely to other retailers allows Apple to maintain the brand promise throughout the customer experience.
By contrast, Rogers claims to be Canada’s leader in telecommunications. But anyone that has had to call their customer support knows that they are anything but a leader. The same goes for TD bank whose brand is supposed to be about ease and comfort but often results in frustrated customers.
The companies that do this well have a clear competitive advantage. Having an excellent customer experience will develop brand advocates that now have a wider audience through social media and other online sharing sites. Additionally, these brand advocates can promote your brand with much more credibility than the company could ever do themselves.
What do you think? Do any examples of a really good/bad customer experience jump to mind?