Introduction - The impact of CX across multiple industries
In today’s crowded and competitive marketplace, it is more important than ever to differentiate your business from the competition. The TAM (total addressable market) of your business will only grow and be unique to your business when you have a series of differentiators in the form of products or services that you can offer to your consumers across key touchpoints of the user journey.
Otherwise, your CX will not be unique and many other competitors with more resources will look to engulf you.
What is CX?
According to the stalwarts of customer experience management, customer experience or CX is the sum of all the interactions and emotions that a customer has with your brand, as well as its products and services. In this competitive and crowded market, where customers have several choices in their hands, their expectations regarding a brand’s CX have also grown.
According to Warren Buffet - “It takes 20 years to build a reputation and five minutes to ruin it. If you think about it, you’ll do things differently.”
Thus, customer experience has become a value-based approach for businesses to amplify their customer base and retain their customers.
Without using customer experience as a competitive advantage, businesses cannot build their customer loyalty, increase brand awareness, or ultimately drive sales and revenue growth.
Thus, one of the most effective ways to do the same is to improve customer experience across the entire user journey. Customer experience is the ultimate tool that can make or break a brand, especially in a competitive and crowded market like this. To offer a seamless experience to the consumers across the user journey, you should keep innovating and differentiating your customer experience.
How does innovating and differentiating your customer experience create an impact?
To understand the impact of innovating and differentiating your customer experience, let's explore some real-world examples across multiple industries.
First, let's take a look at the hospitality industry. The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company is known for its exceptional customer service and attention to detail. In fact, the company has a motto: "We are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen." This value-based approach has helped the company maintain its position as a leader in the luxury hotel industry, even in the face of increased competition in this crowded market.
According to a study by J.D. Power, the Ritz-Carlton has the highest overall guest satisfaction among luxury hotel brands, with a score of 902 out of 1,000. By creating a unique and memorable client experience, Ritz-Carlton has built a loyal customer base and differentiated itself from its competitors.
Another example comes from the retail industry. Apple is known for its sleek and innovative products, but it's also known for its exceptional customer experience. When you walk into an Apple store, you're greeted by friendly and knowledgeable employees who are eager to help you with any questions or issues you may have.
This approach has helped Apple build a loyal customer base and drive sales. According to a study by RetailNext, Apple has the highest sales per square foot of any retailer in the world, with an average of $5,546 per square foot. By innovating and differentiating its customer experience, Apple has become one of the most successful companies in the world. These key differentiators examples have inspired many a brand of the modern generation to improve their offerings and thereby, drive an improved customer experience.
In the airline industry, Southwest Airlines has differentiated itself through its customer service and low-cost approach. By providing a friendly and relaxed environment for its passengers, Southwest has built a loyal customer base and maintained its position as one of the most successful airlines in the world.
According to a study by the Department of Transportation, Southwest has the lowest rate of customer complaints among major airlines in the United States. By focusing on the customer experience, Southwest has been able to differentiate itself from its competitors and maintain its position as a leader in the industry.
Benefits of innovation and differentiation of your CX in a crowded market
So, we have learned from the previous examples how some of the pioneer brands created exceptional CX by consistent innovation and differentiation of their offers.
So, how can innovating and differentiating your customer experience help your business survive in a crowded and competitive market? Let's explore some of the key benefits.
1. Increased customer loyalty
By providing a unique and memorable customer experience, you can build customer loyalty and increase customer retention rates. According to a study by Temkin Group, companies that earn $1 billion annually can expect to earn an additional $700 million within 3 years of investing in customer experience.
2. Enhanced brand awareness
By providing a unique and memorable customer experience, you can differentiate your business from the competition and increase brand awareness. According to a study by Bain & Company, companies that excel in customer experience grow revenues 4-8% above their market.
3. Improved sales and revenue growth
By providing a unique and memorable customer experience, you can drive sales and revenue growth. According to a study by Forrester, customer experience leaders had a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17% compared to just 3% for customer experience laggards.
How can you innovate and differentiate your customer experience?
Now that we know that innovating and differentiating your CX drives superlative results, customer experience management experts in organizations have been formulating techniques to do the same successfully. Here are some key strategies to implement this value-based approach and use customer experience as a key advantage in this competitive market.
Know your customers
The first step to innovating and differentiating your CX is to understand your business’s unique customer pool. Apart from understanding who your customers are, your business should also identify what your customers want, what they need, and what they value. Last, but not least, you should also be able to understand how your customers perceive your brand.
Using multiple tools and techniques to collect and analyze customer feedback through customer satisfaction surveys, reviews, interviews, social media interactions, net promoted score (NPS), and customer journey mapping will help you know your customers, identify their pain points, and goals, and thereby tailor your CX to deliver personalized and relevant solutions.
Focus on personalization
By personalizing your customer experience, you can make your customers feel valued and appreciated. This can include personalized recommendations, customized products or services, and personalized communication.
When the CEO of a probiotics company “Healthy Gut” found the need to stand out in a crowded market due to staggering sales, she conducted customer research to understand the needs of her consumers better. Following this, the company introduced a new feature on its website that allowed customers to take a quiz based on their lifestyle, health goals, and diet to recommend the ideal probiotics necessary for them.
Additionally, it introduced new forms and flavors of probiotics in the form of gummies and powders to appeal to varied customer preferences and also started offering personalized consultations with a registered dietician that improved its customer outreach. The probiotics brand immediately felt the impact with an upturn of 25% in their sales margins within the first year of these implementations.
By embracing technology, you can provide a seamless experience to your customers which is also convenient and helps them throughout their user journey. Technology enables you to enhance and optimize your CX in multiple ways.
● Automating processes
● Offering self-service options
● Enabling omnichannel communications
● Delivering real-time support
● Developing immersive experiences.
Today, businesses can leverage multiple technological facets like artificial intelligence (AI), chatbots, augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR), and the Internet of Things (IoT) to develop innovative and differentiated CX that exceeds customer expectations. However, customer experience management experts also feel that technology should not come at the cost of human touch. Rather, it should augment and complement it.
Develop a culture of CX
When a business decided to differentiate and innovate its CX, it does not always depend on strategies and tactics. A large part of it is dependent on the organization's culture and mindset - where every person is aligned with the vision, mission, and values of the brand. Every brand needs to create an outstanding culture of CX in their house where each individual is motivated and empowered to deliver an exceptional CX to the customers so that their expectations are always met.
How to foster a culture of CX? You can do so by -
● Involving and engaging your employees
● Providing value-based coaching and training
● Rewarding and recognizing good performance by your internal team and vendors
● Encouraging feedback and collaboration amongst employees.
Experimentation and learning
When you decide to innovate and differentiate your CX to deliver unique offerings, you need to understand that you are in it for the long haul. It is an ongoing process that requires constant experimentation and learning. You need to test new ideas, determine their impacts, and learn from their results. Most importantly, you need to be agile and adaptable - which means, you should be willing to fail fast, yet recover and learn faster! Let’s try to understand how embracing a growth mindset, accepting challenges as opportunities, and honoring feedback as a gift helped a global athleisure company.
Nike is a world-renowned athletic wear company that has been in the industry for many years. In the early 2000s, Nike was facing fierce competition from rival brands, and they realized that they needed to differentiate their customer experience to remain competitive.
Nike started by introducing an innovative customization feature on their website called NikeID. This feature allowed customers to design their own shoes and create a unique product that was tailored to their individual preferences. The customization feature was a massive success, and it allowed Nike to differentiate itself from its competitors and provide a personalized experience that customers loved.
Thus, you need to have an attentive eye on the market trends, customer behavior, and the competitive landscape to always innovate and improve your CX.
Develop emotional connections
When it comes to the most powerful ways to drive innovation and differentiation in CX, creating emotional connections with customers will rank amongst the foremost. Emotions are the primary factors that drive customer loyalty, retention, and advocacy, and help develop a strong and lasting relationship with the customers.
Businesses can successfully create strong emotional connections with their customers through -
● Gratitude, appreciation, and showcasing empathy
● Telling stories and sharing values
● Surprising and delighting customers
● Creating memorable moments that matter to their customers.
When it comes to a brand that used an emotional connection to forge its customer loyalty and develop a differentiated CX, we cannot forget Coca-Cola. Coca-Cola is a brand that is synonymous with happiness and joy, and they have created a deep emotional connection with their customers through their advertising campaigns. The company's "Share a Coke" campaign, which debuted in 2011, was a massive success and helped to create a personal connection with customers.
The "Share a Coke" campaign encouraged customers to find bottles of Coke with their name on them, or the names of friends and family members, and share a Coke with them. The campaign was a huge success, with Coca-Cola reporting a 2.5% increase in sales during the first year of the campaign in the US.
According to a study conducted by Kantar, a data and insights company, Coca-Cola was the most emotional brand in the US in 2020. The study found that Coca-Cola had the highest score in the categories of "emotional resonance" and "brand purpose" and noted that the brand's "ability to create emotional experiences and connect with people on a human level" was a key factor in its success.
Be authentic and transparent
If you wish to innovate and differentiate your CX across the customer journey to offer a seamless experience, then you must be authentic and transparent to your customers. Your customers wish to do business with brands they can trust, respect, and have multiple sides to relate to. Customers are willing to do business with brands whose human sides are identifiable. They also want to develop relations with businesses that are honest, ethical, and responsible.
How can a brand demonstrate its authenticity and transparency? Well, you can do so by -
● Communicating clearly and consistently with your customers
● Admitting and fixing your mistakes
● Ensuring the importance of feedback
● Demonstrating your social and environmental impact.
Final words - how to stand out in this crowded market?
It is essential for brands to introduce new features, personalization, and authenticity, and consistently experiment and learn to successfully innovate and differentiate their customer experience. Innovations help brands to create key differentiating factors that let them stand out in a competitive market. They also help brands create a memorable customer journey - every point the customers will love.
If you are your brand are not able to make the cut, or you feel your business is drowning in an increasingly competitive market, do get in touch with us. Numr CXM’s leading services are always at your beck and call to help you develop unique and personalized customer experiences and drive business growth!