There’s no debate that customer experience (CX) is an important topic right now, and with good cause. There is, however, a potential issue that many people responsible for improving customer experience fail to consider. The consumer is simply one piece of the overall experience puzzle; in this post, we’ll show you why you need to think outside the box when it comes to serving your customers.
Every business interacts with a variety of audiences. In a recent project, we directed for a state-wide K-12 school system, and the stakeholders identified approximately 20 distinct audiences in less than 10 minutes. Each of those consumers has an experience; they are not simply clients. We should focus more on the audience experience (AX) rather than just customer experience (CX).
Customer Experience vs. Potential Buyer Experience
Customers come first for those who work in sales. Customers must be given top priority, or, more precisely, the buyer’s experience. Examine your current customer journey map to see how much of it is pre-transaction vs. post-transaction; there’s nothing wrong with having the whole path charted out together.
In practice, once a potential buyer completes the transaction—becomes a client—the customer experience usually stops. Does your client experience continue after the transaction to encourage repeat business, loyalty, referrals, word-of-mouth, and advocacy? Those are the actual phases of the consumer experience in our view. In our research, most truly defined “customer experience” projects appear to be trying to improve the prospective buyer experience rather than what we term “realizing the true potential of your company’s products and services.”
Marketers Take a Linear Approach – Should They?
Customers are the only audience that matters, but not all audiences are consumers.
Customer experience is too broad as a subject. Recognize that each demographic of the audience or stakeholders must be cut down, allowing for touchpoints tailored to those specific audiences. Marketers have historically focused on the sales-related journey and experiences. It’s understandable and probably prudent. But who else in your company is paying attention to all of the other audiences and audience experiences that contribute to corporate success?
Another factor to bear in mind: Customer care should have a significant impact on the customer experience. That might also include marketing, which includes retention, cross-sell, and other elements that influence lifetime value.
Why Is It Important to Fans and Fandom?
You have audiences who are not customers and will never become consumers. They are, nevertheless, significant and useful.
Fans are a great example. What does it imply to be a “fan”? Unlike the potential-customer encounter, this audience is seeking a solution with some aim or desired outcome. Fans, on the other hand, are very different.
Fans don’t have to be customers, but you can have an audience without them being consumers. They behave and transact like excellent clients, albeit not in monetary terms. Are you a sports enthusiast, a musical enthusiast, or a political candidate? The greatest fans aren’t always customers; they can be transacting with loyalty to the brand and what it stands for through their own individual advocacy, amplification, and word of mouth. There is power in numbers. The larger the fan base is, the louder its collective voice becomes.
Your brand will have fans if it is any good. There’s no need to be a rock group; all brands have enthusiasts. The fan experience, too, requires strategic planning—not with the intention of turning it into a potential customer experience, but rather to acknowledge, interact with, and cultivate the fan base.