What's in a brand name? Everything, I would say. To mention the least, the reputation, the quality, and the consistency a brand has to offer. In fact, I’d argue that those can be simplified as the experiences, which pretty much sum up the entire promise that brand made to its customers.
Lets do a simple test:
If I was to name a global brand that you recognised now, what comes into your mind? Chances are a series of experiences filled by emotions, details and even data – experiences that are good and not so good, but both are probably the experiences you will share with others anyway. And thanks to the presence of social media today, it doesn’t take long before the words spread across the globe.
Now, the fact that experience is inseparably connected with the brand, I fear for any business that doesn’t pay much attention in delivering great experiences for their customers.
Here's why - A great customer experience has become a cost of doing business in the Asia Pacific region. That is a conclusion made by the CMO Council after surveying more than 250 senior marketing executives across the region on this topic, and I must say I’m agreeing with that conclusion.
So much so that customers have begun indicating that they would even be willing to pay a premium in exchange for exceptional service (and or a product). In fact, Singapore ranked second in the world expressing this sentiment behind only India – according to a telling survey released by American Express.
Experience is not (just) about feelings
I’d be cautious for any brand that prioritises on delivering good feelings over other factors required to build up a solid name. Factors such as the quality of the product, how the service is being delivered (read ethical), and the overall authenticity I receive from that brand as a customer. It has to be real. Because not unlikely in today’s world, all it could take is one bad experience to lose a (loyal) customer.
I recently discovered that one of my favourite brands for household equipment has decided to use cheap plastic materials in order to cut cost. While I had been using that brand for over a decade, it only took me less than three seconds to dethrone it from the mind share before I moved on – so much for customer’s loyalty! At a cost, I must say; the price from a premium brand I was getting was four times higher, but for me, it’s worth the quality it gives me.
So what makes up a great experience?
According to the new research paper sponsored by SAP Hybris titled Gaining Traction through Each Customer Interaction which surveyed 287 senior marketing executives across Asia Pacific region last year, it is a combination of quick response times, relevant products, and fast response.
The paper also reports that 49% of marketers in Asia believe they are being held back in advancing customer experience strategies because of gaps in people, process, and platforms. Not a new insight we can agree, but I find the figure concerning, that’s one out of two.
Furthermore, 30% say the greatest challenge to overcome in the coming year is to battle limited resources to execute more complex campaigns. Now this is worth paying attention to, marketers. The grace period is going to end soon, and not much leeway will be left to do things the way they have been. And rightly so, why should we use customer journey framework from the 18 century or a marketing technology that was good for use in the 80s?
Start from the roots
Diet pill strategy will never work, and neither will plastering approach. To be fit for the future (and as cliché as it sounds, the future is now), businesses must now start from the roots in embarking a digital transformation. It takes full commitment starting from the top right to the ground, as well as, strong investments in people, process, technology, to deliver great experiences for your customers.
It’s massive, yet simple: at the end of the day, all those efforts only go back to one thing – a name, a good name, in which lies all the stakes. That’s why you care.
The writer is Rita Marini, senior director of customer Engagement & Commerce Marketing, SAP Hybris APJ & Greater China.