We interviewed everyday South Africans to find out what makes a brand stand out amongst other brands for them. In the interviews conducted, customers highlighted that the whole experience mattered - not just the product itself. If you are a business looking to stand out amidst your competitors, you will need to provide something that far exceeds mere good customer service. You need to create a lasting positive brand experience.
A brand experience begins the moment a customer first finds out about your brand and gets in touch with you, includes the quality of the service they receive and even includes all the interactions (or lack thereof) after purchasing your product or service.
Giving your customers a positive brand experience is one way to make your customers feel important and valued. If you manage to get this right it will help you grow your business and build a loyal customer base. Here are a few thought starters to help you build a unique and positive brand experience:
Shorten response time
There is nothing worse than having a pressing concern or question as a customer and not being able to get hold of someone at the business to help you. Either the number on the website no longer exists or just rings, or no one responds to your email. By the time that business eventually responds, the customer has lost interest and has moved on. This is not the narrative you want to play out in your business. Employ someone if necessary, but make sure all your business communication with customers are handled professionally and timely. According to helpscout.com, some customers are happy to wait up to 24 hours for a response, but at least 31.2% of customers want a response in one hour or less. It’s also important to note that the way you respond matters greatly. It helps the customer form his or her very first impression of you, and you need to make sure it’s a good one!
Keep your customers up to date
This point goes hand in hand with the previous point as they both show how important communication is. If a customer has ordered a product from your online store, they are eager to know the status of their good(s). Send them a confirmation mail thanking them for their order and let them know when they can expect to receive it. Communication like this keeps them eager for their order rather frustrated not knowing if they had just wasted their money. If there is a delay, let them know right away – do not wait for them to realize that their order is taking long – get in contact with them first! Show them that your business takes initiative and cares about not inconveniencing them. Klaviyo.com posted a blog article in April 2020 stating that customers are less likely to be upset if they were warned about any delays. Afterall, delays sometimes happen, it is the way that you communicate that really matters. If you fail to notify them – you could lose them completely as a customer. How you communicate really matters!
Make it personal
Customers appreciate personal touches such as hand-written notes, an actual person replying to their queries instead of an automated response and of course, meeting you!
A great way to personally engage with your customers is to meet them in person – one of the pros of having a physical store or selling your goods at a market is that you get to directly engage with your customers and answer their questions face-to-face.
They tend to appreciate your products more because they met the actual person(s) behind the brand. They now have a face to associate your brand with. It sets you apart from the mega chain stores where personal touches are lacking. Another way to make your brand more personal to customers is to be active on your social media platforms by using Instagram and Facebook stories regularly. These interactions allow them to hear your voice and get to know you. It helps them appreciate what makes your brand unique and brings them along on your journey.
Put effort into packaging
It is important to remember that your brand makes an impression from the very first interaction (communication, online store, emails etc.) to the last one (the customer receiving and making use of your product). But before they get to hold your product in their hand, they see and feel your packaging and physically unwrap the product. Are you adding to their brand experience with aesthetically pleasing, eco-friendly packaging? Are you adding a personal touch with hand-written notes? Is your packaging an experience all on its own, or did you simply place it into a plastic bag with little to no effort or thought? As a brand you want to extend the experience for as long as possible, and one way to do this is through your packaging. We wrote an article with some great tips for moving to affordable and beautiful eco-friendly packaging. We hope these ideas inspire you.
Better your website
A professional looking website is really an investment in your business. If people want to view or buy your products, they will look at your website. If they are looking to contact you, they will look for these details on your website, if they are wanting to know more about how your business started, they will look on your website. Point is, your website is a resource all on its own for your customers. If it is designed well, and operates smoothly, it is also a brand experience all on its own. It can richly contribute to your customers sentiment towards your business, be it good or bad. Give customers helpful information about what to expect from your products, tell them about why your business matters. What is your business doing to make a difference? Why should they buy from you and not from another business?
Your website says a lot about your business – so putting effort into this is super important.
And don’t forget to keep your website content fresh! It shows customers (and Google) that your business is one to watch!
Your brand can evoke positive feelings and a positive experience to your customers. These aspects go a long way towards creating a positive brand experience that lasts. Let us know if these tips are helpful to you, and let us know what other insights you’ve picked up from your engagement with your customers.