What I learned about the Customer Experience at the Georgia Marketing Summit

Adam Brawdy, Digital Marketing Specialist

The 2019 Georgia Marketing Summit is officially in the books. The speakers were outstanding, their stories and ideas were insightful and compelling, the food was delicious and I truly enjoyed meeting and learning from other marketers.

I’m going to cut right to the chase. A lot of valuable information was shared that day, so I thought it might be beneficial to put together a few key takeaways around a topic that was often brought up at the summit – the customer experience. Without further ado, here are a few things I learned about the customer experience at the 2019 Georgia Marketing Summit.

I. It all starts with understanding who your audience is.

Ah, understanding who your audience is, a struggle as old as time (not really). In all seriousness, this is arguably the most important step in crafting a great customer experience, yet it’s something that is so often overlooked by companies of all sizes. We often think we should be spending our time creating and distributing content. Don’t get me wrong, this is still vital, but if you don’t understand who you’re creating the content for, then what’s the point? If you understand who your audience is, you should be able to answer the following questions with ease:

  • Who is my target audience? What demographics do my ideal customers fall in to?

  • What do my customers want? What are my customers looking for in my product or service?

  • What don’t my customers want? What will cause my customers to purchase from a competitor?

  • How do my customers buy? Do they research and buy entirely online? Are they researching online and then purchasing in-store? Do they go to the store, weigh their options and then purchase in-store, avoiding the internet altogether?

  • What challenges are my customers facing? What is going on in their lives that is causing them to buy? Do they have any specific pain points?

  • What are my customer’s goals? What do they hope to accomplish though purchasing my offering?

  • What patterns do my customers follow consistently? Do I have customer segments that follow similar buying behaviors?

II. Have the right tools in place to collect and organize data.

If you can’t answer the above questions then how do you develop this understanding? It all starts with a four letter word that strikes fear into the hearts of many marketers; DATA. It is critical to have some type of platform that collects and stores data such as contact information, social media trends, past order history, pages viewed and all other interactions customers are having with your brand.

Almost all companies have something like this already in place, but the real value lies in connecting data silos to truly understand the customer and cater to their needs. When you have a place that collects and organizes data into an easily readable manner, you’ll be able to develop a more holistic view of your audience, make more insightful decisions and refine your understanding of your customers. This will help you to create and serve up personalized content that resonates, ultimately boosting customer engagement and creating life-long customers in the process.

III. Every touchpoint is critical.

This might seem slightly obvious at first, yet its importance cannot be overlooked. If a customer has even one slightly bad experience, at any point in the buyer’s journey, it can be detrimental to your brand.
Let’s say someone uses the Chipotle app to place an online order and somehow that order is lost. Either consciously or unconsciously, that will most likely damage the customer’s perception of Chipotle. They’ll say they hate Chipotle as a brand because of that one bad experience, even if it was just one location that made a mistake.

To make matters worse, customers now have the ability to share their frustrations across social media. They can tell their friends, family and even the world about their one bad experience. Even a simple price hike can lead consumers to voice their displeasure on social media. What I’m trying to say is that I’m hungry (I like food in case you couldn’t tell). What I’m actually trying to say is that every interaction customers have with your brand must be convenient, flawless and personalized, otherwise it can ruin the customer’s entire perception of your brand. Simply put, don’t treat your customers like strangers.

Now this might seem overwhelming, so how do you manage all your customer touchpoints flawlessly? I can assure you there is no need to fear (insert picture of skies opening up to the heavens, just kidding, don’t expect a photo). There are resources out there that can take data and deliver personalized content when, where and how consumers want it, chatbots that leverage AI to deliver the most kick-ass customer service, commerce solutions that deliver a convenient and seamless shopping experience; in other words, anything and everything you’ll need to ensure your touchpoints are immaculate and are right at your fingertips.

IV. Always have a reason for your customers to come back.

Giving customers a reason to come back is arguably the best thing you can do to create life-long customers. This can be accomplished through a lot of what we’ve already talked about such as delivering personalized content, providing exceptional customer service and creating a smooth shopping experience.

But this can also be done through building an emotional and personal connection between brand and customer. Not to the point where a customer bursts into tears at the thought of your brand, but when your customer has an innate sense of pride when they purchase your product or service.

For instance, if a company donates to a cause that I am passionate about or have a connection to, I will remember that. More likely than not, I will purchase that company’s product over their competitor’s equivalent. Now I’m not saying you have to donate a whole bunch of money to create life-long customers, although I’m sure that will help. This can easily be done through simple things such as being genuine, listening to feedback and applying it and creating captivating stories around your brand that customers can easily connect with.

Now if you can excuse me, I have to go get some Georgian barbeque before my flight takes off (I like food in case you couldn’t tell).

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