What is Customer Experience?
If I were to ask you the last time you had a really great experience as a customer, it probably wouldn’t take you long to come up with a story. The same goes for if I asked you to recall a time you encountered a poor customer experience.
These experiences have a huge impact on your business as these lasting impressions result in how they will remember your brand.
The main factors throughout the customers’ journey that influence the outcome of the overall experience are the people and the product.
Were you blown away by the product?
Did the staff go above and beyond their call of duty?
Positive customer experiences mean your customer was happy and satisfied with the service/products you provided. Ultimately this leads to additional revenue through promotion of your business, free of charge.
In order to stand out among competitors and cultivate a loyal consumer base, many businesses are looking to adopt new and innovative models/trends. Think about the subconscious messages these trends convey to customers and do these trends improve customer experience?
Firstly let’s take a look at one of the oldest and most effective business trends for comparison.
BOGOF and 241 – Buy One Get One Free or 2 for 1
One of the most common trends is the BOGOF or 241 offer which is used worldwide to entice customers. The psychological strategy here is simple. Greed.
Once a customer comes across this offer all logic is pushed to the side and the main focus is purchasing an item to receive the free item. It is often believed that the value of free is of lesser quality, however, studies have found that this is, in fact, the complete opposite.
They found that consumers placed more value on freebies and gained a more positive feeling, compared to that of purchasing a heavily discounted product.
The BOGOF and 241 offers have always been successful in improving customer experience, but be warned the incentive is being heavily used by so many retailers that consumers are beginning to think this is the norm and look elsewhere for better deals.
PWYW – Pay What You Want
In recent years the ‘Pay What You Want’ trend has become an increasingly popular and friendly and flexible solution in the retail industry. This promotion is driven by the psychology that if given the financial freedom customers will pay handsomely for what they ate and drank.
PWYW can be a useful tactic to capture your consumers’ attention by selling them the idea which creates an experience worth sharing and in essence turning your customers into influencers.
However, there have been many studies to suggest that PWYW pricing can lead to returning custom but on the whole is not a sustainable business model for the long term.
By transferring the power to consumers you can attract dishonest customers who will significantly underpay or even worse pay nothing at all for the services/products they have received. Other customers may feel confused and conflicted when given the decision on the appropriate price to pay and try to avoid this discomfort by not returning.
Both of these consumer types result in having a significant negative financial effect on the business.
On the other hand, when a customer is in full control of the cost sometimes the ‘nothing to lose’ mindset is a determining factor in the customer choosing an establishment over others. This relaxed approach to pricing can convey a genuine and trusting relationship which the customer is drawn to.
A restaurant owner in Vienna, Austria has been solely using the PWYW pricing model for over a decade with much success. The fact that his business is still up and running, combined with his own logic behind the model is hard to argue with.
This is proof of the capability of the scheme to enhance customer experience:
“We give trust and it comes back! We trust in peoples capacity to think for themselves. If they did not pay at least a fair price and we, therefore, had to close, where would they find such a good meal for such a cheap price?”
A new co-working space in London has taken a different approach to the usual offices that supply mediocre coffee and instead created SL28, a members-only coffee shop, within the establishment.
You may have noticed that existing coffee shops are being used more frequently as a workspace for those who do not have a base.
These spaces are not ideal for getting work done;
people gossiping, children crying, music playing are a few of the irritations that can be experienced.
Along with the irritations, consumers are left feeling uneasy and asking themselves; ‘how many drinks should I buy to effectively pay for my time?’, ‘Should I move my laptop to make more room for other customers?’.
The ‘members only’ trend removes these concerns and creates a relaxing environment surrounded by like-minded people.
Whilst the battle for customers is sometimes based on pricing or added extras, it is often more emotional. A matter of demonstrated care and consideration for the customers’ attention can improve customer experience and the status of being a member gives a sense of belonging and ultimately makes the customer feel special.
Karyn Hall Ph.D. director of a behaviour therapy centre states ‘A sense of belonging is a human need, feeling that you belong is most important in seeing value in life. Belonging to a greater community improves motivation, health, and happiness’.
Other Emerging Trends…
Other popular trends which have emerged since PWYW include ‘Pay as you stay’ cafes. The old street ‘Ziferblat’ cafe in London is a quirky and creative social centre which allows customers to check in and take a clock to their table to help them keep tabs on time. For only 8p per minute, customers are entitled to the use of free high-speed wifi whilst complimentary snacks and drinks are dispensed from the kitchen.
You may think that the majority of people would take a quick pit stop, eat as much as they possibly can in a few minutes and leave paying a small fee, this is not the case. Of course there are a small number of people who do take advantage but on the whole, this business model encourages people from the community to come together.
This model eliminates the inner turmoil that may arise from the ‘pay what you want’ trend and in turn, increase your customer’s experience and encourage them to return.
It is imperative to remember that improving your customer’s experience is not just about using the latest trend and business models but also giving your customers an experience to remember.
How can we help you?
Why not refurb tired and old decor? Or seek advice on how to make the most from the available space to create an enjoyable journey for your customers.
Contact Mark or Louise by email or give them a call on 01803 295959 for an informal chat about your premises.
Fruition offers complete design for businesses, providing creative solutions and delivery using established project management systems.
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