“You’ve got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology.” ~Steve Jobs
Recently I discovered a very cool free marketing video series that IBM has been developing called Above the Clutter.
Above the Clutter is a video series that has delved into the marketing minds from The Grammy’s, Home Depot, The St. Louis Cardinals and more.
The latest ATC video features Pete Krainik interviewing Julie Cary, the CMO of La Quinta Inns & Suites.
Here are five of Julie’s best insights from her interview.
1. Make Your Customer’s Experience Exceptional
The statement of Julie’s that resonated with me the most is:
“Customer experience is everything.”
From the moment a customer encounters your business if they are thinking something along the lines of:
“Yes this is a good company. Yep I am making the right choice by working with them…”
Your business will be poised for excellent customer retention and growth.
Julie explains that with La Quinta their motif is that the customer wants to be assured that they made the right choice.
This sentiment is echoed in their tagline “Wake up on the bright side.”
2. Text Message Your Customers and Prospects
Ready for you is a service that sends a text to La Quinta customers as soon as their room is ready.
Although I often talk about the importance of email marketing it’s no secret that text messages have a far higher open rate.
If you can get permission from your prospects to text you will be far better off.
The open rate of text messages is often close to 100%. Most email open rates don’t even come close to this.
Use texting the right way and you can tap into a powerful channel to get many more of your leads to convert.
Some customer management systems automatically add an unsubscribe text string to messaging such as “reply ‘stop’ to end communication.”
In a conversation with a friend you would never text an unsubscribe link so I don’t recommend doing this in your marketing.
To maximize marketing performance I recommend not sending unsubscribe messages with your texts whenever possible. As long as you have gained someone’s permission to text this should not be a problem.
3. Keep The Customer Experience Simple and Stress Free
Keeping your customer experience stress free, especially for busy business people with family, is an important key to your customer experiences.
Although people often talk about the angst and stress of managing a busy career with a family I like Julie’s take on the topic. There can be plenty of positives in balancing a busy work and family life too.
For example Julie shared how a long time colleague found that parenting made her a better leader, better listener, and a more patient person.
There are many people who are busy with work and family. If your company can create a straightforward and stress free customer experience everybody wins.
When your customer experience is positive you will create customers who will want to work with you again in the future.
4. Tap Into The Power of Custom Apps
Instant hold is an app La Quinta launched that enables their customers to reserve a room with only their phone number and the app.
Think of how you can use a custom app and your website to generate more business and then work with a talented team to make it happen.
If you are looking for talented app developers contact me and let me know what you want to build and I will let you know if my app developer contacts can help make it happen.
5. Leverage Real Time Personalization
Matching organizational data with effective marketing messages is how you can engineer quality communication and promotions with your customers.
The example here was from Air France who understand that effective communication is not about simply offering a discount. A relevant offer that understands and enhances the experience of the customer can be far more effective.
Creating an exceptional customer experience is a strong strategy for getting more repeat customers and revving up your referrals.
In our socially empowered time it has never been easier for customers share their positive experience with your business on social media.
The flip side of this coin that businesses must be more careful than ever with their customer experiences. It has never been easier for people to trash talk and do serious damage to a business when their experience is negative.
Making your customer experience as excellent as possible is a smart way to make the most of the fact that people share their experiences now more than ever.
Don’t just take my word for it: Check out the Above The Clutter video and discover these strategies and more!
What was a fantastic customer experience that you had and will never forget?
Let me know with a comment below! 🙂