I had the opportunity to attend the Franchise Customer Experience Conference in June with hundreds of franchisors representing marketing, operations and technology functions. The biggest conference takeaway was that customer experience is more important than ever before—80% of people care more about their experience with a company than the product itself.
With that in mind, the keynote mentioned it is better to lose the short-term sale than lose hard-earned reputation. If you are unable to provide the best customer experience, due to labor shortages or any circumstances, think about how a sub-par experience can affect winning future business. Is it worth losing customer loyalty in the long run for short-term revenue?
Given the current inflation environment and increased consumer price sensitivity, consumers need to know the value and worth of your service now more than ever. And that includes how they perceive their entire experience with your business.
How do you make sure you have the best customer experience? It requires a holistic approach from every function within your organization to collaborate, including marketing, operations, technology, and more. Everyone needs to own the customer experience to make it successful.
Importance of Digital Presence
Nowadays, the first place a consumer experiences your brand tends to be online. Your digital presence needs to be as cohesive and impactful as it would be in person. The consumer wants to be able to easily access your website from their phone, interact with your brand online, make an appointment, or place an order—all without ever having to step into a store.
Think about how much the customer journey has evolved. The first thing a customer does when they are looking for a daycare for their kids, a cleaning service for their house, or a fun adult activity is an online search. They then start going through the search results located on the first page by clicking on a few different business websites prior to looking at their reviews and ratings. The customer may even go check out the company’s social media pages, then go back to the website to take action, such as filling out a form or making an appointment.
During this journey, this potential customer is experiencing your brand digitally. If your website is not easy to navigate or your reviews are negative with no responses, the customer notices! This is where various functions within your organization need to ensure your digital presence aligns with your customer and brand experience as well as their expectations.
What Does It Mean for Franchises
Do a health check or user testing! Step into the shoes of a potential customer assessing your company and your competitors while making a decision to purchase. Confirm that your customer and brand experience is high-quality, seamless, and consistent across your digital presence. This includes your company website, digital ads, social media profiles, review listings, communication options, and more.
Here are some ways to do a quick check:
Are customers able to easily access information and a way to contact you online?
Is your branding and company information (address, business hours, etc.) consistent online?
Can someone communicate directly with your brand via text, call, chat, or email?
How quickly can someone expect you to respond when they reach out or leave a review?
This is where it is crucial that each function is involved in the customer experience. Marketing helps understand how to get in front of your ideal customers while communicating your brand’s value. Operations informs the team if there are any changes or delays in the product or service being offered. And technology provides a frictionless and problem-free experience to the customer.