Customers are putting more value in memorable experiences over ordinary services (Source: Unsplash)
Anyone who’s ever had to navigate a call centre in search of a real person understands that customer experience can mean the difference between their business or a cancellation.
There have never been more ways to connect with customers thanks to digital technologies, providing businesses with a smorgasbord of services from 24-hours self-service to automated chat bots.
But introducing the latest technologies in an attempt to enhance how a company can service its customers can, in many cases, lead to staff fatigue and even higher costs in cases where customers don’t feel their needs are being met.
Andre Schwager, founder of customer experience software company Satmetrix Systems, coined the term customer experience in the Harvard Business Review as a way to describe how well-intentioned customer service models can get it so wrong.
“Customer experience encompasses every aspect of a company’s offering from the quality of customer care to advertising, packaging, product and service features, ease of use and reliability,” Mr Schwager said.
The result is that the practice of customer service often relies on the age-old question of “is there anything else I can help you with?” instead of focusing on the gaps between customer expectations and their experience of a company’s services.
When we talk about the importance of communication skills for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, understanding customer needs and addressing them directly through meaningful experiences is an essential feature of a modern business.
Just take a look at Red Cat Adventures, a tour operator from the Whitsundays that has pioneered the use of speedboat catamarans built for the region’s unique sailing conditions.
After noticing more of their customers were being put off by the thought of a bumpy ride, Asher recruited an engineering company to design a new fleet of boats that would be fast enough for his adventure clientele but still able to meet the expectations of a comfortable ride.
In the competitive industry of tourism, Asher and his team understand that selling comfortable rides isn’t enough to attract and retain customers -- selling memorable experiences does.
Red Cat Adventures also applies this thinking to their digital marketing strategy where more than 61 per cent of all accommodation transactions take place.
Their website is integrated with popular travel website TripAdvisor along with social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram to help position their brand in front of their digitally savvy customers.
The strategy also means smart phone users can watch one of their promotional videos, read customer reviews on TripAdvisor then make a booking directly on their website without ever leaving their internet browser.
“Sharing our holidays on social media has become such an important part of the experience, so we invest in our own content and share what customers are capturing whenever we can,” said Asher Telford, owner of Red Cat Adventures.
With 92 per cent of customers saying they’re more likely to trust individual reviews instead of paid advertisements, a digital marketing strategy that creates a space for authentic engagement between customers is a go-to strategy for any customer-facing business.
Coupled with their specialist knowledge of the Whitsunday Islands and dedicated customer service staff, Red Cat Adventures maintains authentic engagement with their customers from the moment they sign up.
But for customers who prefer face-to-face engagement, Red Cat Adventures also partners with a range of accommodation providers and travel agents to support customers that are on the move or looking to embark on their next adventure.
Although the world of customer service is changing, the need to create memorable experiences both online and offline has never been more important.
To learn how to create memorable experiences for your customers online, get certified with Google’s free introductory course on digital marketing.