At the 2018 Leadership in E-commerce Forum, held in Dallas on May 22, Jim McDonald, Chief Marketing Officer at Pacific Union Financial, discussed the importance of focusing on key moments and meeting expectations in creating a positive, memorable customer experience.
McDonald stated he wanted to offer a different way of looking at e-commerce with regard to the customer experience and, in particular, how customers will look at brands through e-commerce in the future.
“I want you to think about two things: Are we really programming people to experience events, or are we programming people to codify the memory of that experience? Secondly, are we setting the stage for experiential warfare? Do we have to constantly reset the standard and the bar by which we create the customer experience?” he asked.
Today, customer experience is a big factor in competitive differentiation; a reported 86% of customers are willing to pay more for better customer experience. In addition, it’s 70% less expensive to retain customers than to find new ones, and a “completely satisfied” customer is 260% more valuable than a “very satisfied” customer. It pays for companies to invest in the customer experience.
McDonald pointed that in the new experience economy, customers are paying for a memory, which becomes a product or service: “We focus on key moments because we [humans] don’t remember very much. We don’t remember the entire experience. Marketers focus on the memory, because that’s what keeps people coming back. People think of the future as anticipated memories. People also remember changes or things out of the ordinary. And, when it comes to what people remember, endings are very important,” he emphasized.
Approximately 90% of customers check online reviews and ratings before making a purchasing decision, but what’s more is that 88% of people trust online reviews more than they do recommendations of friends or family. If one angry customer review can equal 16 anti-referrals, brands need to make sure they are monitoring their online reviews.
“If you don’t have an online reputation management discipline, you should get on it,” McDonald urged.
In addition, McDonald urged brands to embrace multi-variant testing, suggesting that a good way to do this is to emulate the landing page and front-end creative of a competitor that does a good job at this and iterate from there.
Ultimately, the key to a great customer experience is setting and resetting expectations and meeting those expectations.
“At the crux of every great brand is taking away all the unknowns, setting and resetting expectations, and meeting those expectations every time” McDonald noted.