Why ‘the customer is always right’ is more applicable than ever in today’s data-driven business

“The customer is always right” is a popular phrase with interesting origins. While there is no conclusive evidence of when the quote first came to exist, most credit its early popularisation to Chicago retailer Marshall Field. More importantly, though, is that the phrase is an abbreviated version of the original, which stated “right or wrong, the customer is always right.”

Only three words longer, the full quote adds some needed context – that the customer can of course be wrong. If businesses were to fully believe ‘the customer is always right’, then the most demanding and unreasonable customers could take a business to ridiculous lengths. Simply put: there’s no way to please everyone. What you should concentrate on is keeping as many of your current and potential customers happy.

This is the customer experience (CX) conundrum. Great CX accounts for every customer, whether they are right or wrong. But appealing to so many customers is no mean feat. Digital businesses in particular must create consistency across more CX ‘touchpoints’ than ever – website, social, blog, search, ads, mobile, and more.

Keeping your brand image and customer experience consistent across these channels is vital to retaining customers and appealing to new ones. That’s why creating an end-to-end customer journey is more important than ever – and this is what we are going to explore here.

The modern marketing funnel

The traditional marketing funnel has long acted as a framework for marketers to find customers and sell to them, mapping the path of the individual that turns from prospect to customer. In its most fundamental state, the marketing funnel progresses from awareness – of a product or company – to interest, and then to purchase. It is three simple steps – but the modern workplace has changed that.

With more avenues for interaction than ever, the top of the modern marketing funnel is extremely wide. ‘Awareness’ can stem from someone discovering your landing page from a Google Ad or from navigating to your blog page after reading a tweet on their smartphone. With more entry points into the funnel, the paths potential customers journey down can be considerably different.

To combat this variety, the customer experience must be seamless. Users must get the same sense of your brand whether navigating through your website or viewing your LinkedIn company page. The different platforms on which your brand is displayed must intertwine. Consistency in this regard is difficult to maintain. So what can you do?

Creating the end-to-end customer experience

Here are some tips you can follow to create a smooth and seamless customer journey:

  • Establish consistency: From the customer’s point of view, your company should feel like the same entity whether interacting with you on your website, social media or over the phone. Brand guidelines are integral to consistency. Consider your company goals and values, and your target audience. Use these to create a brand guide that includes tone of voice, logos, iconography, colours, fonts, and typography. By circulating this information, you can ensure everyone in your company is on the same page – so your customers will be too
  • Make use of customer personas: In order to truly welcome the customer into the process, brands must get to know who their customers are – and find similarities and differences among them. Read more about the benefits of creating marketing personas and tips for creating them here
  • Utilise the mobile revolution: Social media is most prevalent on mobile devices – the obvious advice is that you need a company LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter account if you don’t already. But your website also needs to be ready for mobile users – responsive design can ensure your website functions just as well on mobile as it does on desktop. But empowering your employees with mobiles can let them respond to customers faster. Individual social accounts that represent the company add a personal touch and can ensure prompt responses to user queries or problems
  • Identify your strengths: Try to identify moments when consumers are more likely to reach out, require help, or take more notice of your brand. Tracking a customer’s site navigation is a good way to find out how they got to your site, which pages they visited, and how long they stayed for. If your blog is getting the most attention, for example, make sure it’s regularly updated. If LinkedIn users are proving a higher conversion rate than Twitter users, consider upping engagement with other LinkedIn users or investing in a paid ad campaign

The customer may not always be right, but the customer experience always should be. If you want people to perceive your brand in the right light – one that goes beyond simply buying a product but creating an experience – your business needs to create consistent CX.

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