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A recent quarterly digital intelligence briefing from Adobe and Econsultancy titled Digital Trends 2015 outlining the most exciting opportunities for your organization, ranked Customer Experience as number one for the second straight year. The study was conducted on more than 6,000 marketing, digital and ecommerce professionals around the world ranking things like content marketing, mobile, social, big data, personalisation, location based services and more. Customer Experience or (CX) as a theme has increased the gap from 2014 between things like mobile and social. Last year 20% ranked (CX) as the most exciting opportunity and the number has increased in 2015 to 22%. It is clear that in the coming year we will see a ton of activity in this area, so how can your dealership ensure an excellent (CX)?
Customer Experience is defined as is the sum of all experiences at various touch points a customer has with a supplier of goods and/or services, over the duration of their relationship. This can include awareness, discovery, attraction, interaction, purchase, use, cultivation and advocacy. Creating an exceptional customer experience is a complex process but if measured properly and the right actions are taken to improve/ build upon (CX) then it can be one of the greatest points of differentiation between you and your competition. For the purpose of this article let’s group the touch points a customer goes through into a three different categories; Pre Purchase, Point of Sale, and Post Purchase.
The pre purchase is where your dealerships marketing efforts need to be simplified so that follow through on your promises to customers are attainable. In this stage you are attracting a potential customer to your store so the idea is to control and engage their emotional behaviour through your marketing efforts. Despite multi-channel campaign management falling in importance to organizations this year, the marketing message you put out must be in line with your dealerships culture across all platforms. Consistency from each channel; social, mobile, traditional and website must be cohesive in nature in order for your in store experience to line up. Another building block to your (CX) is your (UX) or user experience. This can be anything from the usability of your mobile site, to how easy it is to find contact information, to how engaging your social activity is. Control your customer’s emotions and attitudes toward your brand before they physically interact and you’ll have the best opportunity in creating an awesome customer experience.
Point of Sale
Customers want to know what to expect when walking into your store; consistency in experience must stretch far beyond the awareness and attraction of your brand or marketing story and create a cohesive buying experience for your customer. If you present online that you have the fastest and easiest trade in process, but when a prospect enters your showroom and they have to wait an hour to “get a number” on their trade or wait for the proper manager to look at their vehicle, a part of the (CX) dies. The key is setting expectations that can be easily achieved or easily over-achieved, so that the stream of customer involvement is a consistent flow - in a sense you’re setting yourself up for failure if you can’t deliver consistency. When a customer is treated with the same or better principles that attracted them to start the acquisition, their (CX) will rise increasingly.
The post purchase is theoretically the point in which all your experience marketing should tie together. It is the single greatest opportunity to create brand advocacy and support from your customer base. If you’ve succeeded in creating a uniform experience until this point then you need to follow through on the same principles. You’ve spent a lot of time and money on creating a new customer acquisition and this should be the point that you make a customer for life. A recent study shows that most organizations spend about 6-7 times more on gaining a new customer through experience marketing than they spend keeping an existing customer. The same study also shows that there is a 60 – 70 percent chance you’ll sell a product or service to and existing customer, compared to 5- 20 percent to a new one. Some ways to keep a solid (CX) after purchase is to; have an anniversary purchase call, ask them to post a review and then send them a link to once you’ve posted it, offer specials on products you think they may be interested in, and engage them in quality social campaigns. If you’ve succeeded thus far, just transfer the same energy you exhausted in the P.O.S and the excellent experience should continue.
What you’ve created thus far isn’t really anything out of the ordinary, you’ve just treated your customer a certain way from attraction and awareness, all the way through to cultivation and advocacy. The key to all of this though, is the re alignment of your stores culture and philosophy so that all employees exude a similar energy. Will you be investing in (CX) this year? What are your dealerships goals regarding (CX)? Customer Experience is everything, all other tools and resources are just supporting your overall customer satisfaction levels.