In today’s dynamic and constantly evolving business environment, customer experiences can serve as a guide to building a successful business. From the very first point of contact to post-sale follow-up feedback, the buyer’s journey is now intimately connected to a range of customer experiences. These experiences happen at every stage of the buyer’s journey and extend beyond the final sale.
Each step of this journey represents a unique opportunity for companies to connect with, delight and build lasting relationships with their customers. Whether it’s the initial research phase when a customer first discovers your business through a local search, the evaluation of other competitors, or the post-sales support customers seek when leaving feedback, businesses need to prioritize understanding and meeting the evolving expectations of their customers. Understanding how consumers interact, where they encounter hurdles, and how to drive the user journey are key factors in reducing churn rates.
The ability to create exceptional customer experiences at every stage of the buyer journey is a key differentiator and can be achieved by refining the local experience – the interface between local marketing and the customer experience. A rich, well-executed local experience empowers businesses to build loyalty, increase customer satisfaction, and drive sustainable growth.
How can your business exceed customer expectations, avoid bad experiences, and increase customer satisfaction? In this post, we examine how you can transform your customer experience strategy by providing an exceptional local experience (more on what local experience entails).
Introduction to the local experience
If we look at the term “local experience” at a high level, we might associate it with an experience a customer has with a local business or in a local area.
For the purpose of this blog post, we define local experience as the intersection between local marketing and customer experience — the gray area that’s often ignored but necessary to create consistent experiences.
After all, local marketing is often the first customer touchpoint where potential customers first come into contact with your business. In fact, 97% of people learn more about a local business through the internet. When you know that a potential customer will most likely find out about your company and its products or services through a search engine, it’s important to ensure your marketing and customer experience teams are in sync to deliver an exceptional customer experience on the first interaction to accomplish.
Local experiences go beyond the mere first encounter with your brand. Let’s examine how local marketing and CX intersect throughout the user journey.
Optimize your Google business profile
Optimizing your online presence and ensuring a sound SEO strategy can help your business appear more prominent in the competition’s search results. It also ensures that a customer’s introduction to your business is positive and they find the information they need to take the next step.
A comprehensive local marketing strategy and best-in-class solutions can help you achieve this. This ensures that every field in your Google Business Profile is complete, factual, and up-to-date. This includes removing outdated Google posts, updating holiday times, using all the attributes available for your main category, and more.
Create meaningful content
The customer experience with your brand is not everything. Next, a customer can navigate to your local landing page from your Google business profile. Failure to receive relevant, business-specific information or promotions can lead to customer frustration.
For example, if a customer clicks the website link in your Google Business Profile expecting to find more information about a restaurant near them, but instead is taken to the restaurant’s corporate brand page, the result can be a poor customer experience.
The customer probably wanted to find specific information about the restaurant near them, e.g. B. its opening hours, pickup and delivery options, if there is a happy hour there and more. Getting general information about the parent brand is not a positive experience.
Take it a step further and include relevant information on your location-specific landing pages to create a more personalized experience. This information may include nearby points of interest, organizations your business supports in the local community, nearby businesses, highlighting staff at that location, products in stock at that location, and more.
Increase your online reputation
Your company’s online reputation can make or break the difference. The average customer reads six reviews before visiting a business. Additionally, 66% of customers trust online reviews as much or more than personal recommendations.
There is nothing to change in online reputation management. It requires consistent monitoring, response and analysis. It’s also another important aspect of local experience (and creating great customer experiences). Customers now have the ability to research, rate and share their experiences with a global digital audience.
Bad experiences can lead to negative feedback, which can damage your company’s reputation. However, these powerful insights can shed light on how you can improve your operations and customer service experience. And with the right technology stack, you can see incoming reviews in near real-time, act on positive and negative feedback in a centralized dashboard, assign tasks, and look for common complaints or areas where you excel.
This comprehensive view can help you underpin your business strategy, drive transparency into user feedback, and nurture customer relationships. Through a measurable indicator of success, these insights can inform leadership teams on how marketing and CX-related activities are performing. But marketing and CX teams need to work together to create cohesive and rewarding digital experiences.
Break down cross-departmental silos
Isolated customer retention strategies lead to blind spots in the organization. When your marketing team doesn’t communicate with your customer experience team, or vice-versa, it can result in less visibility into important customer feedback, missed opportunities to improve different areas of the customer journey, and converting disgruntled customers into satisfied customers.
Consistently clear, cross-departmental communication closes deficits with a holistic understanding. The transparency to see and understand how customers are interacting with a company at key touchpoints—from discovery to post-sale—results in an improved customer experience.
The local experience in action
Consider the following scenario of how marketing and customer experience teams can be better aligned to achieve business goals. A global retail brand operates in numerous countries and regions. It has hundreds of brick-and-mortar stores but also leverages e-commerce. With such an extensive footprint, it could be difficult to get a clear view of how each individual store works, how the retail brand works as a whole, and online customer experiences.
For example, if customers are deterred from paying due to a large number of form fields to fill out, this can also impact the offline experience. Additionally, if a customer service team at a store in San Diego, California provides poor customer service, it will likely lead to dissatisfied customers and impact the entire business.
A customer-centric organization has clear insight into all positive and negative experiences. This distinct customer sentiment allows the company to tailor its operations to create memorable experiences that keep customers coming back.
In an ideal customer experience model, every single store, ecommerce team, brand-level marketer, and customer experience team would have access to this wealth of data. In turn, the brand can use understanding to deliver consistent experiences that increase brand awareness and reputation. Individual stores and teams at the brand level might see:
- How customers discover the store/brand (search engine, keywords)
- The actions they take on business listings (click to call, click for directions, click to website)
- When they click on an online ad, such as a Google Post or Apple Showcase
- Landing page metrics (how long customers stay on the site, where they click, what they find most interesting, where they navigate next)
- Positive and negative sentiment by volume (around which attributes, service aspects and emotions)
- What you need to prioritize, monitor, consider, and maintain to keep customers happy
- Online reputation overall and at individual store level
- What customers say about the brand or store after their purchase
Comprehensive, end-to-end customer experience management ensures better customer experiences and strengthens internal teams. A seamless set of solutions ensures poor customer experiences are mitigated and customer relationships are strengthened. What kind of software does this at scale, you might be wondering? The Local Experience Platform has entered the chat.
Introducing the only end-to-end local marketing and CX solution for global brands
The Local Experience Platform is the first of its kind to break down the barriers that CX and marketing teams often face. Attract, retain and delight customers from search to sale and beyond at every key customer touchpoint with solutions designed to improve the experience at every step. The Local Experience Platform enables global, multi-location brands to:
- Keep location data consistent and optimized everywhere customers can find you.
- Build dynamic locator and local landing page experiences.
- Monitor review platforms, understand customer sentiment, and engage with reviews quickly and in near real-time.
- Unify the customer experience with market research, customer insights and behavioral analysis.
- Combine deep insights at an individual level with comprehensive observations and trends from large segments of your market.
- Gather the data you need from any touchpoint or channel on a single platform.
- See the big picture to understand customer behavior and increase customer retention.
Would you like to find out more? See the Local Experience platform in action or receive a free, comprehensive LX audit to uncover your company’s local marketing and CX opportunities.