If you’re doing things right, your brand tells your customers; “This is the unique thing we do, that nobody else does.” It sets you apart from your competitors and, in your customer’s mind, expresses why you’re the best at what you do or the only one that does what you do, the way you do it.
Your brand and the experience you offer your customers are intimately related. This is a bit of an oversimplification, however the brand sets the tone for the overall customer experience. It’s instrumental in setting customer expectations, which is a key part of the experience. The actual experience should live up to the expectations set by the brand.
Let’s use a restaurant as an example to demonstrate this, let’s say that its website makes it look wonderful and it has rave reviews on online review sites (ring any bells). Everything about the brand sets the expectation for the customer that they’re going to have an awesome dining experience.
But if the actual dining experience is a train wreck and the restaurant isn’t anything like it was represented online, you’ve actually created a terrible customer experience. The brand sets the tone and makes the promise, but the experience has to deliver on the promise the brand makes.
How Do You Know If Your Brand and Experience Are Consistent?
Unfortunately, it’s not always easy to tell whether or not you’re delivering a branded customer experience. The best way to find out is to rely on feedback from your customers. They’ll let you know if you’re not delivering on your promises especially if you ask them.
Here are a few things you can do to help ensure that you’re living up to your brand image:
- Make sure that all employees and management understand the brand well and how to communicate it. In other words, make customer expectations clear. Create protocols and system to ensure that your employees are providing the right customer service.
- In your research, try to find out what your customers feel about not only your brand, but your competitors’ brands as well. By comparing you with your competitors, you can more easily see which areas are your natural strengths; in other words, the areas where you’re delivering a branded customer experience and those areas you could improve.
- With your brand in mind, brainstorm a list of every touch point you have with customers and make an honest assessment of whether or not you’re conveying your brand at each of these points.
Monitoring your brand and customer experience is not a one of task, it needs to be ongoing, so make it a regular part of your routine. Keep gathering and analyzing feedback so that you can refine and continuously improve things.