By Dean Horsfield
The idea of creating a highly functional customer experience seems simple: process, product and price are three pieces of the puzzle that have created the best customer experience for years.
What many companies lack, however, is the fourth piece – an often elusive element: purpose. More than ever, a brand needs to have a clear and identifiable purpose, not just as a differentiator but as a core component of the customer experience.
Product, process and price were once the industry standard on which a company could build for future success. Marcus Lemonis built an entire show called The Profit around these three core concepts. He took dilapidated businesses and suggested repairing them by figuring out which of the three elements was missing.
For a long time, the three Ps were all businesses that were needed until a new consumer demographic came in asking for just a little more – actually a lot more. And these consumers have caused brands to be held accountable for failing to satisfy the desire for that new element: purpose.
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Generation Z accounts for 40% of the world's consumers, and this generation grew up with arguably the best customer experiences ever. For the past 20 years, companies have bent backward to deliver the three Ps to their customers: Developing industry-leading products; Providing basic processes through world class customer service, shipping and returns, websites, social media, etc .; and offers the lowest prices. It all happened thanks to the generation that brought Gen Z forward: the millennials.
Brands that did not meet the highest standards in terms of process, product and price would be torn to pieces by this highly connected and influential consumer group in a matter of minutes. Love them or hate them, Millennials have set the framework for the most responsible, responsive corporate society of all time.
Generation Z watched their older millennial siblings and parents navigate the online world with ease, choosing products and brands at will. And that liberation became something that Gen Z has always taken for granted. You see the world with different eyes.
An amazing process, an amazing product, and an amazing price are like saying that a café serves coffee – that is expected. If your company doesn't already have a clear strategy for competing with these three Ps, you may need to go back to Customer Experience 101. This is about the next level.
Back to Generation Z. Having grown up with the world at its fingertips, there are few concrete ways it can improve its customer experience – with the exception of the highly intangible "purpose".
Purpose is something that resembles a feeling more than a tangible element, but for Gen Z it is as important to the customer experience as the three Ps. Companies with a clear purpose are more likely to succeed than companies that don't.
Here are a few examples of how companies have incorporated "purpose" into their customer experience:
The examples continue, but the point is clear. Without a purpose, your customer experience is inadequate in the modern age of consumption.
This is the surprisingly easy part – figure out your "why" and then pour gasoline on it. There will be people who hate you for your position and when that happens you will know that you really have found your why. The simple fact is that you have to be ready to piss a few people up in order for people to fall in love with your brand.
When people hate you, it seems like the opposite of providing the best customer experience, doesn't it? No The more you can filter out the ones that don't fit your branding purpose and fill your social media and stores with people who believe in your purpose, the more like-minded people will pop up. Surrounded by people who share the same ideals, morals, and beliefs, brands don't just create the best customer experience. This is how they build brand loyalty.
So here is the real secret of this article. Of the four Ps, Purpose is the only one that creates brand loyalty in modern times. That's it. People can always get a better product, service experience, and price, but a strong purpose that resonates with your audience cannot be found anywhere else.
Now, return to the office, desk, beach, coffee shop, or anywhere you work and develop a clear vision of your branding purpose. Communicate it, breathe it, live it, challenge it. Your customers will love you for it.
RELATED: 6 Easy Ways to Humanize Your Brand for Better Customer Loyalty
Contribution by: Dean Horsfield
Dean Horsfield is the founder and CEO of Little Bear in the Forest, a Toronto-based digital marketing agency. Endeavoring to tell incredible stories, bring to life the visions of every company he enjoys working with, Dean finds an excitement unmatched in working with risk takers. With over 20 years in the industry and loads of incredible stories, digital marketing is not just Dean's business, it's also his passion.
Company: Little Bear in the Forest Digital Marketing
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