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The Customer Experience and Your Brand

Customer experience plays a huge role in the success of a brand – positively and negatively. With increasing dependence on social media, customers are quick to share their experiences with a large population of the world. Gary Vaynerchuk @garyvee accurately stated in his most recent book, The Thank You Economy, “It is no longer about what you say about you. It is now about what other people say about you (68% of consumers trust peer recommendations over ads) and how you react and respond to what is being said.”

Get It Right!

In one of my favorite examples of “customer service done right,” Morton’s The Steakhouse displayed perfectly what a great customer experience looks like and the effect it can have on a brand.
Peter Shankman @petershankman, author and entrepreneur, is a frequent diner at Morton’s, and the restaurant is well aware of it. During his flight home, Shankman jokingly tweeted “Hey @Mortons – can you meet me at Newark Airport with a porterhouse when I land in two hours? K, thanks.” Two and a half hours later, Shankman was greeted at his car by Alex from Morton’s Hackensack with a 24 oz. porterhouse, an order of Colossal Shrimp, a side of potatoes, Morton’s famous bread, napkins and silverware.
What do you think Shankman did as soon as he got in the car?
In absolute awe and amazement, he tweeted what happened and immediately people began responding with comments about how impressed they were with Morton’s. And yes, they should be impressed. Here is a company that was actually listening to its customers and responding without a second thought because it “gets” how important the customer experience is to its brand. There is no doubt that it took resources and extra effort to do what Morton’s did. In the end, it was worth it because of the positive impression Shankman and everyone else who read the story now has about Morton’s.  Read more of the story

Going the Extra Mile

It’s not difficult to “go the extra mile,” but it does take strategic thought, planning and effort to be effective.  Morton’s had to see the tweet, get approval from corporate, place the order at the nearest restaurant, cook and box the order, drive 24 miles to the airport, determine the flight, time of arrival and exact location where Shankman would be leaving the airport, and be in place at the moment he walked out to his car – all within two and a half hours.
What are some keys to this type of success?

  • Put a high priority on the customer experience
  • Identify possible opportunities
  • Listen to client/customer needs
  • Respond quickly in this fast-paced social media world

And, this doesn’t apply solely to B2C companies!
Monitoring Your Brand Online
Gary Vaynerchuk said, “Relationships are what life is all about – reciprocating without asking for anything in return, for instance. Business relationships are no different than personal ones.” If a company isn’t monitoring what its customers are saying about it online and really listening to customer feedback, it is missing a huge opportunity to build relationships with current and potential customers.
Does a priority on customer experience in the social media realm mean that nothing negative will ever be said about a brand ­– a hesitation many companies have? Absolutely not! But it gives the company an opportunity to answer or fix whatever issues a customer may have, in a public setting, for all to see, which usually proves to be more effective anyway!

In case you missed it, check out Branding – Part 1: Brand Consistency. Check back next month for Branding – Part 3: How Public Relations Effects Brands.
Meredith Chase
Director, Brand Strategy