Welcome to the Year of the Customer

530068511It seems each year comes with its own label, so what are the trendsetters in marketing calling 2016? It depends on who you ask, but “The Year of the Customer Experience” seems to make the most sense.

Sam Walton, the founder of Sam’s Club and Walmart, once said, “There is only one boss – the customer.” In 2015, consumers dominated markets that in the past were controlled by the professionals who served them, such as healthcare. Today, even doctors pay homage to the one true boss. With a new year comes a new set of expectations and, in 2016, it looks like customer experience is a key factor.

Why Shift the Focus to Customer Experience?

Much smarter people than I have debated this very question, but Sam knew what he was talking about. Customers are demanding experiences that fit their lifestyle. Since there is a connection between a positive customer experience and the bottom line, businesses must pay attention.

Profitability relies on happy customers that not only become lifelong fans but, in today’s social world, send others to your client’s virtual door via recommendations and Internet chatter. A study conducted by Genesys found 59 percent of the survey participants prioritized customer experience and were rewarded with a growth in revenue. Those who fail to understand its merit will miss out.

What Defines a Positive Customer Experience?

There are some fundamentals that cross industry lines, but, ultimately, it boils down to expectations. In business, you must meet the expectations of customers, whether they are internal, such as when you hire freelance writers or external like the company looking for you to create a successful marketing plan.

At the heart of expectations are interactions. Interactions go beyond face to face encounters. Any time a consumer experiences a brand, there is an interaction.

  • Websites
  • Call Centers
  • Ads
  • Social media

When you are defining the customer experience, you must consider all touchpoints in the equation.

At the heart of most markets is a millennial demanding:

  • Self-service options
  • Personalization
  • Entertainment
  • Technology that works smoothly
  • Social consumption
  • Collaboration
  • Your job is to find the right mix to provide that memorable customer experience.

Follow the Trends

How can you know what will provide a positive customer experience in 2016? Follow the trends.

Video – Not exactly news, video has been at the top of the marketing to-do list for awhile now, but video customer service is becoming all the rage this year.  Companies will take their customer service to the next level with live, two-way video chats. American Express, Hertz, E-Trade and Bank of America are already on board the video customer service train.

Mobile Continues to Explode – Again, not news, but consumers will to do more and more things while on the run. In the future, everything is about that little device your target audience carries with them while on the go. If your marketing checklist doesn’t include mobile, you have no hope of meeting customer expectations.

When you are strategizing on ways to bring in more business for 2016, focus on what matters. Welcome to the year of the customer experience.

Darla F is a full-time freelance writer who specializes in helping agencies meet their goals by developing creative and engaging content.


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