The modern customer is demanding, much like the Sun King used to be. This I-want-it-and-I-want-it-now mentality is strong, and companies should be operating like the Versailles court of a thousand servants used to — humbly serving the customer who is at the centre of the operations.
The customers’ skill levels and demands are constantly on the rise along with digitalisation and the developing technology. Companies and their brands are encountering a group of customers that is more conscious than ever, whether we are talking about a private consumer or a corporate customer.
Customers want to be at the centre of companies’ undivided attention, spending their disposable income on the best services, just as the famous 17th century Frenchman Louis XIV did with his economic policy. Product qualities or versatile service contents are no longer as decisive as when a company acknowledges its customers and understands and anticipates their actions.
Of course, while your products and services need to be in good shape, your most important competitive edge is the holistic experience, where even the emotional side has been considered as an essential part of the customer journey. The competitive edge is built online, on mobile and in social media as well as for the needs of a busy and demanding customer running their errands in bricks and mortar shops and even in the partner brand’s channels.
Brand experience guides the journey that began with the brand promise
Instead of mere customer or service experience, we should be using the umbrella term of a brand experience. The brand that surrounds the customer and the service entity that makes it concrete must be seamless. The digital and analogue manifestations of a brand as well as service in different channels respond in unison to the customers’ demanding shouts — after all, the customer’s wish list includes a good, high-quality and foreseeable experience regardless of the point of business.
In the customer’s world, a meaningful experience is created as promised regardless of the channel. This requires the company to have the ability to understand its customers’ individual needs and to transform them into personified experiences. When speaking of a typical experience in the digital age, user friendliness and service speed rise as significant factors alongside personification.
These are supported by a well-built technological environment in the background, which is manifested to the customer as seamless and effortless service from one channel to another while considering customer needs, operational methods and habits.
Experience is difficult to master
A winning experience is not created simply on its own or by sheer willpower. In the background, you must have a strong and developing brand strategy, a customer-oriented thinking pattern and operational processes that highlight unity. A continuously developing brand requires disruptive thinking with an out-of-the-box mentality, without forgetting the brand origins.
True customer orientation highlights proactivity in anticipating customer needs and behaviour. Strong processes built around the customer, where each meeting with the customer has been planned in advance, guarantee the ability to react to market demands quickly.
All in all, experience is a difficult sport to master. According to research, it is subjective and situation-specific, even in digital channels. And what is most noteworthy is that even the customer affects their own experience. However, the best companies succeed in this, and the reward is well worth it — according to Forrester Research, companies with a good customer experience increase their revenue on average six times faster than the control companies.
At the end of the day, a successful customer experience follows the recipe from Versailles that dates back almost 400 years. A winning concept is not created from the viewpoint of your business; instead, it requires customer-oriented thinking. Those with the Sun King at centre of their operations will succeed.