I daresay that many customers are just happy to purchase products from some businesses and leave. There’s absolutely no emotional connection. Do you know what’s worse than this dilemma? When the businesses in question have no clue that this is how some of their customers feel about doing business with their brands. A double dilemma.
This is not just a problem that is limited to a customer’s singular experience. It is stretched into an emotionless experience with the business as a brand, with interactions becoming a struggle and the disconnected customer deciding to walk away. Again, what’s more troubling, is that it’s only when the customer walks away, that the business wakes up and becomes aware of how unfulfilling the experience would have been for the customer. Let me say here, that one customer leaving may not affect the business, unless it’s a key account. It may require a sustained exodus to create a smoke signal that attracts the attention of the business.
I daresay that many customers are just happy to purchase products from some businesses and leave. There’s absolutely no emotional connection.
No business should allow this level of emotionlessness to be its customer perception footprint.
As a matter of fact, recently, I had an experience that put me right in the “dilemma scenario.” I bought a pair of shoes at a retail outlet and got the feeling that the sales personnel were more interested in the sale, than in the customer providing the sale. This was my first time patronizing this fairly popular shoe retailer and it’s going to be my last time patronizing this particular shoe retailer. It’s such a pity that they will never know that they missed a golden opportunity to snag a repeat customer, simply because of a lack of engagement and a casual approach to my importance as a customer.
So, if I disliked the experience, why did I purchase the product? Because, in the moment, the retailer had what I needed and at the right price. However, given a choice of repeat purchasing, I have decided to pass.
Some brands offer products and services that are more essential, paving the way for a lengthened period of artificial customer patronage.
This brings me to an important point in the psychology of the customer versus business brand relationship. Many disliked brands still prosper. However, they win for the same reasons that I made my purchase (the price and the product met my need).
Whilst in my case, the need was met in the moment and the discretionary nature of the purchase allowed me to walk away, some brands offer products and services that are more essential, paving the way for a lengthened period of artificial customer patronage.
Businesses need to stay awake though. This customer patronage must not be confused with customer loyalty. If a worthy competitor shows up, default purchasing will evaporate as customers migrate to the new provider on the block.
This customer patronage must not be confused with customer loyalty. If a worthy competitor shows up, default purchasing will evaporate as customers migrate to the new provider on the block.
There’s a powerful linkage between customer experience and business brand experience. When customers have consistently powerful experiences with a brand and its products, these become core memories and begin to shape the customer’s overall perception of the brand.
It’s important to note how these experiences contribute to landing the brand perception.
Two payoffs for this discovery are unique brand positioning that enables the business to be lifted out of the sea of sameness, where all competitors are selling the same products and services, as well as the avoidance of the common practice of competing on price-cutting strategies. This approach goes a long way in pre-empting artificial customer loyalty.
Let me reiterate here that the goal is to ensure that customers like not only the product or the experience, but that they like the business, as well.
When customers have consistently powerful experiences with a brand and its products, these become core memories and begin to shape the customer’s overall perception of the brand.
Subsequent to the shoe retailer experience, my mobile phone fell and I had to have it repaired. This was completed by a recommended service provider, who delivered a superlative experience, which included throwing in a free accessory.
Now, here’s where my perception of this service provider’s business brand went past my specific customer experience. Every customer who entered the business while I was waiting, was treated in a superlative way and for me, this created a defining core memory of the business and its brand experience.
I left with a “warm spot” for the provider and a feeling that they care as much about their customers, as they care about the customers’ money.
The takeaway for me? Experience branding and business branding at work.