Quick Connections on CX-Centric Branding

Keith LaFerriere, Chief Creative Officer

If you think about where we’ve come from, in terms of the collective “hive mind” and the acceptance of Customer Experience being a part of our daily conversation, it’s natural to think that the people who initially bridged and formed these conversations see themselves as experts.

However, think about the new marketing generation starting out in their journey, and you’ll find that they don’t necessarily need someone telling them how to be a customer-centric citizen. Instead, they’ll expect you to dig deep and find better ways to engage their already-connected customers to a level their organization has never achieved. To get to that level, we have to understand the dance between customer and brand, namely: CX-Centric Branding.

Why is CX-Centric Branding Different?

We’re not far away from being in the right mindset to creatively succeed with our CX plans. In order to round out a few tasks that organizations and marketers can perform to get to the next level, let’s review the following three critical areas of focus:

Emotional Triggers – Positive and negative emotional triggers can make or break your customer connection. The old adage of a customer having an exceptional experience throughout a fine meal, only to have a bad parking lot attendant peel out when they return with the valet is a combination of things that are in and out of your control. The journey from picking the restaurant to picking the meal and everything in between creates a series of events that leave a brand in a high-risk situation. However, with the amount of control we have with our digital experiences and the follow-on customer care (support, product return, etc.), means that we have to make sure we see potential emotional triggers and either create or negate them along the journey. Sometimes, this takes a larger effort such as a Design Thinking approach to get the organization behind the tenets of CX. Other times, it’s as simple as retraining your support staff to finish the job with a smile.

Tasks that can help get you moving include : 

  • Design Thinking and Delivery workshops
  • Resetting scripts for CS and CX managers for staff training
  • Retail operations service design
  • Behavioral analytics reporting

Every Touchpoint Matters – There isn’t a more important mantra in your CX supply chain as every touchpoint matters. Repeated regularly, especially to those not on the front line of your customer interactions, activates the muscle memory to “think before we drink” the Kool-Aid of whatever is being sold/marketed by the organization.

Tasks that can help get you activated include : 

  • Road map design and delivery
  • Stakeholder interviews and 1:1 Needs Analysis
  • Usability Testing against your current experience
  • Reviewing job descriptions and creating change

Releasing Control – You shape the brand, but the way that customers and other organizations interact with your brand shape the experience. Customers will have a say, and they’ll be happy to tell you which parts of their journey they liked and disliked (sometimes vehemently so), so you might as well take stock in higher level studies and testing to get halfway home. I don’t always subscribe to the notion that customers don’t know what they want, however, I do think this was true when digital products and services were in their nascent stage. At this point, collaboration and participatory design will give fearless organizations a critical competitive advantage as they move their way from tellers to listeners. Incorporating small enhancements based on data and behavioral analysis will garner quicker, conversion-worthy touches.

Tasks that can help get you moving include : 

  • Participatory Design Workshops
  • Customer Heuristics Reviews (Focus Group Model)
  • Staff Training for CS Listening
  • Scripting service-level design responses to customers
  • Retraining Social Media Customer Service Teams

A beautifully executed dance takes both listening and following skills to make sure you and your partner aren’t stepping on each other’s toes. As we move forward, to a CX-centric brand activation model, we should be relying on the data we’ve already received (pre-GDPR) and take stock in being better listeners.