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My customer experience experiment....

All of us are busy, and interact literally with hundreds of brands everyday - whether we consciously recognise it or not. As a marketer, sometimes we overthink our brands, so I decided to conduct a self experiment: between waking up and getting out the door, which brands delivered what they promised?

Which brands delivered what they promised?

I consciously counted 48 brands I used between getting out of bed and leaving the house in the morning! All of which I expected to do what they said. If they didn't - then I felt annoyance - and made a quick note not to buy that again. Some brands just do what they say (fine) and some are genuinely great - they do what they say - and are better than others. These are the things you talk about!

For me on my experimental morning, the biggest fail were the Coles bobby pins when I was doing my daughters hair bun. About 1/3 of them were twisted, which meant they needed to be thrown out. We also lost 5 valuable minutes looking for more - which meant we came dangerously close to missing the school bus. Never again would I buy these!

It's this unconscious interaction which makes managing the experience even more important. When I'm interacting, I'm not thinking is this fair as the price was cheap. No - I expect things to work as they say, or I'm done as there are so many options. Fail me, and you are gone.

Fail me, and you are gone!

All the industry data reinforces this as well: only 1 out of 10 people will bother to tell you they were unhappy - or in marketing terms the experience did not live up to the promise. If you are not constantly checking, learning and confirming - then your experience gap - the difference between your brand promise, and the actual customer experience - could be growing (and your business declining) without even being aware. Also remember that your experience gap is not set by your direct competitors, but everything that you as a consumer come in contact with. During my morning experiment, I was interacting with shampoo, toilet paper, rice bubbles, my nutri-bullet blender (love), kids lunchboxes, and bobby pins - among others. My context for evaluation was versus all of these things. And how high was the cost if it failed. Which is why experience is so much more about the emotions it evokes (both positive and negative), rather than a rational comparison of benefits and claims versus the direct competitive set.

The diagram helps to put this in perspective.

Does your promise match your experience?

First - the experience is set up by the promise - what are you expecting. If you promise, but can't deliver, then there will be disappointment. This was what happened to me with the bobby pins. Also, a low promise with a low experience isn't great - as you become forgettable, and replaceable. While a low promise and high experience generally delivers a positive emotion (you overdeliver) - this means you may be missing out on customers as they are not excited by your promise, or you are leaving profit on the table - as you could have charged more. The best place to be is the top right: where a strong promise is matched by a strong experience: the customer is satisfied, and you - the marketer are able to drive a robust business through growing sales and profit.

The best marketers are those who genuinely walk in their customers shoes. Try this little experiment yourself - and understand which brands genuinely match their promise with experience.



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