How To Give Your Customers A Remarkable Brand Experience
“Your brand is what people say about you when you aren’t in the room.”
– Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO of Amazon.com
Regardless of what products or services you sell or what industry you are in, whether or not you are a small business owner or you own a large international corporation, your “brand” is more than just the image you wish to display to the world through marketing and advertising. Your true brand is the opinion that others form about you and your business, based on their own experiences with you, and the experiences that others have with you. Therefore, it’s integral to the prosperity and survival of your business that your current and prospective customers have a good brand experience when they deal with you and your company.
What is a brand experience?
Brand experiences can occur in many ways, some are obvious, and some are not so obvious. In general, a brand experience is likely to occur when a current or prospective customer encounters you, your business, or the products and services that you offer. These encounters can take place in physical store fronts, online on your website, through contact with your brand’s advertising, or even reading posts in social media.
What makes one good or bad?
It can be difficult to describe just what exactly a good brand experience looks like, other than to say a good brand experience will exceed your clients’ expectations, and it’s the exact opposite of a bad one. If you have a bad one you will know it! Some people mistakenly believe that for clients and prospects to have a good brand experience, everything must “go right” during their encounter with your brand. This actually isn’t true.
Most of us have had bad brand experiences. We can recognise one instantly. Depending on how bad they are, we tend to remember them quite vividly and for a long time. Most of us are also fairly quick to spread the news about them.
How bad brand experiences occur
There are countless ways that a bad brand experience may occur. It may have been something simple such as a difficult checkout experience and no one showed empathy for your situation. It could be that the item you wanted was out of stock and no one kept you updated on when you could expect to receive your item, or maybe it was too difficult to exchange it.
Sometimes a bad brand experience is something much more subtle, such as when a company tries out a new ad campaign and the ad is unclear, confusing or even downright annoying. Other times a bad brand experience can be an indirect one. An example of this is a customer using a company’s social media to complain about the service that they received with no follow up response – but the post stayed up for prospects to see the brand’s silence and implied lack of service and commitment.
The point is that it’s important that a good brand experience reinforces the image that you wish your brand to project. You want your current and prospective customers to believe that your brand offers direct benefits to them, and that on those rare occasions when something should happen to go wrong, you are dependable and trustworthy and will go out of your way to quickly work to resolve the issue.
How can you create a good brand experience for your customers?
The following tips will ensure that your current and prospective customers always have a good brand experience, even if something should happen to go wrong.
Be genuine and keep your word. In your brand’s advertising, and with the actual products and services that you sell, ensure that you always “under-promise and over-deliver” when you interact with your clients. In this way you will ensure that you exceed your client’s expectations, rather than fail to live up to them. Don’t say you will do something that you can’t or won’t. Nothing turns customers off more than the feeling that they’ve been lied to or cheated.
Know your clients and look for ways to surprise and delight them. Everyone likes to be recognised, and most of us like to hear our names spoken. We want to feel a connection with others around us and to be treated as more than just another number or a featureless face in the crowd. Use your customer’s name and take the time to get to know them. Personalise their experience with your brand. Did a long time customer just have a baby, or receive an award? Take a moment or two and send a card of congratulations, or even flowers. Do the unexpected.
Talk to both your customers and associates and give them what they want. How can you know if your brand’s products and services are truly unique and offer a true benefit to your customers unless you talk to them? How can you ensure that your associates are fully trained and empowered to offer the best customer service unless you ask them?
Look for ways to increase your interaction with your clients at all points of contact with your brand and always look for ways to improve every aspect of your business. Have an open door policy as well as regular interaction with your direct line associates and management, and actively seek ways to help them help themselves, and your customers.
Direct customer feedback and the insight provided by your associates, are two of your brand’s most valuable assets – don’t neglect to use them! Constantly seek ways to grow and improve what you offer your clients and your associates.
Don’t forget to have fun and enjoy your work. There will always be unpleasant or difficult times and tasks associated with any job, therefore look for ways to lighten the load and atmosphere while you are at work. Encourage employee friendships and take care to hire associates with a positive attitude. This will make it easier for everyone to put forth their best efforts at work – and this positive, fun loving atmosphere will rub off on your customers as well!
Don’t forget to thank your customers. Your customers are choosing to do business with you rather than with all of the other brands out there – so don’t forget to thank them! If you don’t take steps to ensure that your customers know that you appreciate their business, they will eventually decide to do business with someone who will show their appreciation.
Following these tips can help you to always exceed your customers’ expectations. As more and more customers have good brand experiences with you and your business, they will spread the word, and you will reap the rewards.