Your Brand and Customer Experience: Is CX part of your brand now?
Too often, for B2B managers, the idea of a brand is just the logo and tagline. Customer Experience is your brand. More thought should be given to how CX is now a critical part of your brand. Based on our extensive research, one of the most critical parts of a B2B brand is the support for the products or services sold and one of the best areas of your CX journey to make a positive impact.
Your Brand and Customer Experience —The Connection
To better understand the connection between CX and your brand, let’s start with a definition of branding.
B2B branding is all about building a relationship with the customer. Products and services are generally sold through direct interaction with a salesperson, and the brand must provide a complete solution (not only a product or service but ongoing support and someone to service the relationship). (SCORE)
In the B2B market, customer experiences are at the root of a great brand. Specifically, you can have the most innovative product or service, but without excellent product support, it can be for naught, as the following personal stories suggest.
I recently visited two Hilton Hotels, one in Arizona and one in Charlotte. In Arizona, the hotel wasn’t as clean as in past experiences at a Hilton location. In Charlotte, the shower control fell off and almost hit my foot, which would have broken it. At this point, I was disappointed with Hilton. The ubiquitous email survey showed up, and I completed it. While unexpected, I did get an email acknowledging my problems and promising to share my feedback with the hotel managers. The fact that I received a response caused me not to write off Hilton in the future. This simple act of communicating with a customer saved a relationship. Remember, simple actions can have a significant impact on customers.
We purchased an RV recently known for its high quality and reliability. Without going into all the details, a few months after purchase, the rear slide started making excessive noise when extending or retracting. The manufacturer repaired it, but the next day, the unit failed again. It took the intervention of a senior manager to get the issue resolved (hopefully). It was noteworthy that it took senior-level involvement to resolve the issue. Even though I was stranded, there needed to be more interest in helping this customer on the part of lower-level managers. On the flip side, his response was encouraging upon finally reaching a senior manager. He understood the problem and promised to get the problem solved. His response helped to restore my faith in this brand.
Great CX Helps Make the Brand
As these stories illustrate, the provider’s positive response to problems caused me to at least give these two brands another try. Think about my likely actions had there been no, or an insufficient, response to my feedback. I would have changed my preferred hotels and sold the RV. Obviously, simple but effective service recovery helped rescue the brands.
Building a brand is not just about service recovery. Effective service recovery is necessary for a brand but does not make a great brand. Excellent customer experience builds a brand in several different ways:
Customers are secure in the brand. Even if things are not quite right about a product, responsive CX helps get things right for the customer. Getting things right helps establish security for the customer. I was secure in the knowledge that Hilton would have a clean and comfortable hotel for my stay. We bought the RV because of the brand reputation and the positive comments of other owners. Hopefully, my confidence and security will be fully restored in both companies.
Customer experience boosts your marketing. The Daniel Group recently completed a research project for a machinery dealer client. We asked people who had purchased brands other than those that our client sold what information sources they used when researching equipment options. The first things mentioned were feedback from other users, past experiences with the dealer, and previous purchase experiences. Information sources such as the dealer, OEM website, or social media were seldom used. The most important information sources are the potential customer’s experiences and those of others the customer knows. A strong brand, supported by great CX, makes your marketing efforts more effective.
Customer experience helps fulfill customers’ brand expectations. Whenever you purchase something, you have expectations when you make that purchase. For example, think about the last new car you purchased. You return to the dealer for service, and you have some questions. If someone knowledgeable and genuinely concerned about you and your new car answered your questions, you would likely feel much more strongly about the brand.
A strong brand helps customers and prospects better understand your products and services. Brand helps to set expectations. At the root of a strong brand is strong customer experience. How good is your company’s CX?
Let me know how CX supports your company’s brand. I would be interested in learning what is working best for you.