There’s an old saying in marketing, “Happy customers tell three friends. Unhappy customers tell ten.” These days, with the ease of sharing on social media, those numbers are probably an understatement.

The fact is the customer experience is arguably the most critical element of a brand’s success. According to a McKinsey study, 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated. A staggering 89% of consumers say they have stopped doing business with a brand after experiencing poor customer service.

For a good customer experience, studies have also shown that consumers will pay between 55% and 86% more and yet, according to Forbes, only 1% of customers feel that vendors consistently meet their expectations.

Dual channel direct marketers (catalog and web retailers) have a particular challenge when it comes to providing a consistently positive experience that generates sales and builds loyalty. Competition is fierce and customer touch points are limited.

We’ve found that creating great customer experiences for catalog and web shoppers requires a canny mix of insight, products and strategic discipline. There are many things that brands can do to provide great customer experiences, but the most successful brands tend to have these things in common:

  • They know their customers. Consumer tastes and trends change with amazing speed these days. Smart marketers understand this and evolve with their core customers.
  • They establish and clearly articulate an authentic Brand Position, Promise and Personality that resonates with their customers. Product features and benefits are important, but customers overwhelmingly prefer to buy from a brand they know and like and who treats them well.
  • They make sure that every brand interaction authentically and consistently reflects their Brand Promise and Brand Personality. Every employee must know and understand what the Brand Promise and Personality are and more importantly, how they can represent them at every customer touch point.
  • They resolve any and all problems quickly. Invariably customer problems will happen. Smart marketers recognize that a problem is an opportunity to win over an unhappy customer. Quick resolution done well can actually create long-term customer loyalty.
  • They follow up after the sale. They ask for feedback. They find out what customers liked or disliked and what they could do better. And they implement what they’ve learned going forward. With today’s database capabilities, it’s a missed opportunity not to do this.
  • They benchmark and track customer experience scores. Even a small improvement in a company’s customer experience score year-to-year can translate into significant dollars at the bottom line. Smart marketers include this metric in their marketing plans.

If your brand doesn’t seem to be performing as well as it has in the past, it may be time for a tune-up. A good place to start would be a customer experience audit. A happy customer is a good customer and a great brand ambassador.

Chris Hayes | J. Schmid

Chris Hayes | J. Schmid

EVP of Brand Strategy

Need help improving your brand’s performance? Email me at or call 913-236-2415.