Have we lost sight of the real purpose of customer communication?
It’s a noisy world out there. So much information is being thrown at customers, via more channels than most can handle. Hundreds of companies are battling for a slice of your customer’s attention.
Amid this relentless demand for mindshare, it’s easy for communicators to get caught on the treadmill . . . create communication, send, measure. Repeat.
So, let’s take a step back, and really think about why we send all of this communication. Is it just to tick a box, or because legislation requires it? Are we leaving great opportunities on the table by not fully leveraging each touchpoint with a customer?
My view is that every customer communication should aim to achieve three core requirements:
- Build a stronger relationship
- Add value to the customer’s life
- Drive the right behaviour.
Haul out the old customer journey maps
Now is the time to rethink your communication strategy and identify what experiences you can generate to add real value to your customer and drive the behavior that will achieve your business goals.
Consider each touchpoint on the customer journey and ask yourself:
- What is this communication meant to achieve?
- Do you believe it will add value to your customer or are you just ticking a box?
- How can we use this opportunity to drive the right customer behaviour?
- What opportunities are being missed?
We send communications for different purposes. Some aim to promote self-service or increase adoption of a channel or product. Others aim to create the ideal onboarding experience that builds trust, provides reassurance and gives a powerful first impression that will set the tone of the relationship for years to come.
In short, every message your company sends should add real value to your customer’s life and drive the right behaviour through relevance, convenience or reward.
If you are able to achieve this across the full customer journey, your customers will reward you with increased loyalty, engagement and a massively reduced cost to serve.
The goal: communication that shifts customer behaviour and drives engagement
Customer engagement is essential
Engagement is the key to unlocking a successful digital strategy. Customer engagement can take many forms, but ultimately, your communication must pique their interest, cause inquisitiveness or generate excitement.
Taking customers through an experience that generates appreciation and learning is also a successful engagement.
The real question is: How do we increase our customer engagement in a world filled with so much noise?
The answer is: manufactured experiences.
What do we mean by manufactured experiences?
A manufactured experience is a complete, ground-up redesign of an experience that is perfectly tailored to meet the customers exact needs, at a particular touchpoint.
Manufactured experiences seamlessly incorporate the functional purpose of the engagement in a way that brings awareness of the potential break-out points, such as alternative channels or calls-to-action. The experience drives mutually beneficial behaviour that improves the service the customer receives and reduces the company’s cost to serve.
Disney theme parks are a great example – after a visit to a Disney theme park, you leave with this sense of wonder and magic – a good feeling. Even adults feel this way (despite expecting to be exhausted and frazzled).
Why is this?
Because the entire experience, from the moment you arrive to when you leave, has been manufactured to create that good feeling.
There are no sensory inputs left to chance. Every aspect of the experience has been manufactured from the ground up to ensure that vistiors never feel jarred, irritated or offended.
It’s all manufactured to ensure that visitors have a happy, magical and fun experience. This is how Disney theme parks achieve a 70% return rate for first-time visitors.
How do they achieve this?
Disney builds all experiences with a customer-first mindset from the outside in, not the inside out. They are driven by what is required, not what is possible. They have dedicated teams that identify and mitigate every aspect that may leave a bad impression, cause negative emotion or impact the overall magical trance.
For example, you never see anyone emptying trash cans, despite there being a lot of trash. That’s because the trash cans were built to be emptied, discreetly, from underneath.
A further example: no matter where you are in the park, the sound is always consistent. You don’t have to put up with louder music when you’re near the speakers or with not being able to hear something when you’re further away.
How? Disney leaves nothing to chance. They understand their clients and take control by manufacturing the perfect experiences at every touchpoint.
They ensure that every visitor feels like the park is putting on a show just for them. As a result, visitors leave the park “magically” feeling like everything was just perfect from start to finish and they can’t wait to return.
Now think of each communication as an opportunity to manufacture the perfect experience for your customer, and for each of these communications to build on the next to create a “magical” level of loyalty and an “enchanting” reduction in your cost to serve.
Can communication really shift customer behaviour?
The short answer is, yes. By manufacturing experiences that engage your customer and provide useful and convenient options to adopt, accept, self-serve or learn, customers can be nudged towards behaviours that help to meet your business goals.