Authenticity sells: How to craft an intentional customer experience

Karl R. LaPan, President & CEO, The NIIC

There is a reason the average net promoter score in the United States is 10. High quality, world-class customer experiences are an exception, not the rule. So, what makes for remarkable customer experiences?

  • An emotional connection and interactions to/with the brand;
  • Something memorable, “sticky”, different, or a wow (unexpected); and
  • An underlying feeling of acknowledged value and worth (appreciation).

Today, more than ever people are craving authentic experiences from brands. And the brands commanding attention right now know how to engage customers deeply and in a sustainable way. The truth is, it doesn’t matter what you are selling. Deep emotional connections built on insights are king. Think about how few and far between handwritten notes are today!

For example, pizza chain Domino’s Pizza has worked to create a great brand experience on all of their different channels, including social media, apps, and websites. Specifically, they offer many personalized messages to their customers, such as push notifications. Customers love the convenience factor, and this drives likely conversions.

So, what can small businesses do who don’t necessarily have the marketing power of a chain like Domino’s? You can still apply their best practices. Follow these steps to craft an intentional customer experience and reap the rewards in 2019.

1. Engage in Active Customer Discovery and Validation

A vital component of the business model process is the search for the business model. Active and engaged market research is one avenue. If you’re constrained by a tight budget, you could conduct a free or low-cost online survey. The ultimate goal is to dig a little deeper to understand consumer preferences. For example, how does your widget make customers’ lives easier or help them overcome perceived challenges? Using this insight, consider how you might incorporate those intangibles into your business and improve the overall customer experience?

2. Connect the dots

A novel idea or innovation is one that tests positive on desirability, viability, and feasibility. Once you understand the pain points of your consumer base, it’s time to explore possible avenues. Conducting a feasibility study will help you better understand what falls under the scope of your capabilities. For example, do you have the capital to launch a new or improved product line? Do you have the personnel needed to support growth? What partnerships can you leverage? How much will it cost and what’s the related ROI? What’s the competition doing? How can you sustain growth?

3. Execute, Execute, and Execute

Once you have determined next steps, identify key performance indicators and delegate responsibilities to bring your vision to fruition. Survey your core clientele to ensure the experience is still satisfactory. Too much too soon can compromise quality and ultimately your reputation. Remember, a good idea is worth 1 point, and execution is worth 99 points.

When in doubt, remember that experience-based businesses are designed around people, not products. So, you can’t go wrong with taking a step back to focus on the human element, above all else.


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