In today's immensely competitive market, the importance of brand differentiation cannot be overstated.
The modern consumer now has more options than ever before, making it increasingly difficult for brands to stand out from the crowd and make lasting impressions.
As a result, businesses are in a constant battle with their competitors to capture and retain customer attention.
So what can you do to overcome this challenge and secure your place in the market?
How can you win over customers and stay one step ahead of the competition?
The answer lies in leveraging the power of customer experience.
In this article, we'll explore why customer experience has become a critical brand differentiator and how you can use this to your advantage. We'll cover:
- The importance of customer experience
- The importance of brand differentiation
- Why is customer experience a key brand differentiator?
- How to make your customer experience a key brand differentiator
Let's start off with the basics - a definition of customer experience.
Customer experience defined
Customer experience refers to the overall impression a customer has of your business.
It encompasses the entire customer journey – every touchpoint and every interaction - from the moment they first discover a brand until a purchase is made.
It also includes any further customer engagement in the aftermath of a purchase and beyond, as well as any customer service/support events.
In this way, customer experience is a holistic concept.
It centers on how a customer feels throughout all stages and aspects of their relationship with a brand.
The importance of customer experience
It’s not an exaggeration to suggest that great customer experiences are the heart of business success.
By providing positive experiences, you’ll increase customer satisfaction, retention, and loyalty.
In turn, these loyal and happy customers will be more likely to engage in brand advocacy.
Case in point, 64% of customers are more likely to recommend a brand to others if it offers high-quality experiences.
When met with disappointing experiences, however, 58% of consumers will not only cut ties with your business – they’ll also flock to your competitors.
On top of that, a brand that delivers disappointing experiences will likely end up with a damaging negative public image.
And it's not just your brand's reputation at stake - the experiences you offer also can also significantly impact revenue.
In fact, customer-centric businesses have been found to be 60% more profitable than those that neglect the customer experience.
This is because a brand that works to deliver exceptional experiences will incur lower customer support costs and higher conversion rates.
The importance of brand differentiators and a brand differentiation strategy
Brand differentiation is the means by which a brand sets itself apart by providing a superior or unique selling point.
This is achieved by identifying your competitive advantage (i.e. your brand differentiator) and using it to entice customers and secure your place in the market.
Differentiating your brand is crucial for several reasons.
First, it allows you to better communicate the unique benefits of your product or service to potential customers - this can be a major factor in winning new business.
Second, it helps you stand out from the competition and reinforces your brand identity.
Finally, it can be a key driver of customer loyalty, helping you retain existing customers and grow your business over time.
Ultimately, when it comes to establishing a strong and compelling brand, differentiation is the key to success.
There are many ways to differentiate your brand.
The most important thing is to develop a differentiation strategy that makes sense for your business and resonates with your target audience.
In addition to using customer experience as a brand differentiator, other effective approaches include:
- Focusing on a specific market niche
- Offering unique customer benefits
- Having very low or very high price points
Whatever approach you choose, you must ensure that it's authentic and differentiated enough to have a meaningful impact on your business.
Why is customer experience a key brand differentiator in business?
We live in an era defined by technology, the rise of the internet, and digital transformation.
As a result, today's consumer is exposed to more brand voices than ever before.
For almost any product or service, there will be a multitude of competing businesses available to provide it.
Faced with this abundance of options, how does a customer choose one vendor over another?
Enter customer experience.
Once a customer has narrowed down their choices to the suitable brands within their price range, customer experience is the differentiation that remains and so becomes the crucial deciding factor.
It's why 96% of customers will abandon a business for a competitor on account of a poor experience - they can easily get the same product/service elsewhere but with a better experience attached.
While this might seem daunting at first, this is actually a great opportunity for businesses.
If customers see great experiences as a key differentiator, there no longer needs to be a "race to the bottom" when it comes to pricing.
Instead, brands that want to have a competitive edge can set themselves apart by providing memorable experiences.
How to make your customer experience a competitive differentiator
Now that we know the importance of customer experience as a brand differentiator, the question remains:
How can you differentiate your brand's experience from your competitors'?
Below, we've compiled the top tactics to give you some differentiation inspiration.
1. Build a distinctive brand identity
A compelling brand personality is a critical piece of the brand differentiation puzzle.
By establishing a compelling and recognizable brand identity, you'll not only make your business stand out - you'll also humanize your brand and make it easier for customers to emotionally connect with you.
In order to build your brand narrative, you need to get to know your target audience.
You need to learn what resonates with them and what drives them. Then, use this information to create a brand they can relate to.
An effective tactic from a differentiation perspective is to strive for a brand persona that isn't completely typical of your industry.
It's better to aim for something a little more niche or original, in order to intrigue your customers and make them remember you.
You also need to work your branding into your marketing and communications strategy.
It needs to be reflected in your digital content, especially your website and social media presence.
A brand identity is important because it's interwoven with the customer experience of your business and its product/service.
Businesses that have a distinctive brand experience enjoy higher success and loyal customers.
Take tech giant Apple as an example.
From their stores featuring “genius bars” to their advertising and sleek packaging — all elements of Apple's brand identity and marketing combine to create a cohesive and innovative customer experience.
It's why they remain differentiated within the tech industry and retain a devoted customer base.
2. Offer a unique purchasing experience
Providing a unique point of purchase is a highly effective way to differentiate your brand through a memorable customer experience.
These kinds of experiences work by capturing customer attention.
They entice customers by providing an additional benefit that'll be gained from purchasing (as well as the product/service itself).
For example, consider the buying experience of the popular Build-A-Bear Workshop.
This thriving business doesn't just sell stuffed toys - it also allows children to create and design their own dream plush toy and watch it come to life before their eyes.
As a result, the Build-A-Bear brand remains differentiated from other children's toy suppliers by incorporating a memorable purchasing journey into its customer experience.
3. Provide superior customer service
Customer service is an integral component of the overall customer experience.
It's critical because poor customer service can taint a customer's entire experience and relationship with your brand.
In fact, 50% of consumers will switch to your competitors after just one incident of poor service.
Clearly, excellent customer service is essential for retaining customers and keeping them happy - but it can be even more than that.
It can also be part of your brand differentiation strategy.
Creating a customer experience that's defined by superior customer service is one of the best ways to set your brand apart.
In order to achieve this, you need to develop a strategy that takes your customer service above and beyond the customer's expectations.
For example, you could focus on building deeper customer relationships and providing more in-depth support through a consultative approach to customer service.
You should also apply this approach to your digital customer service too.
Consider offering video chat support, virtual clienteling, or virtual shopping experiences.
Leading retailer Bravissimo, for example, uses Talkative's video chat to offer one-to-one consultations and online fitting appointments.
However you choose to elevate your customer service, the key is to differentiate yourself by delivering a level of customer support that is a cut above your competitors.
4. Leverage the power of personalization
When it comes to capitalizing on customer experience as a key differentiator, the importance of personalization cannot be understated.
In fact, 80% of customers are more likely to make a purchase when offered personalized experiences.
These days, however, a personalized customer experience doesn’t mean sending the odd email with the customer’s name in the header.
Many online retailers and SaaS companies are now going the extra mile by using algorithms to offer content, landing pages, and recommendations that are tailored to the individual customer.
Intuitive and helpful personalization tactics like this make customers feel valued and appreciated.
It means they are more likely to enjoy and further advocate the product or service they are purchasing.
Furthermore, personalized recommendations are a great way to proactively solve your customer’s unique problems.
5. Capitalize on convenience
You don't necessarily have to invent a unique or extraordinary experience in order to differentiate your brand.
Instead, you can position your brand as one that offers a new level of convenience and simplicity.
This tactic works because customers love businesses, products, and services that make life easier for them.
In fact, statistics indicate that 70% of consumers are willing to pay more for a convenient experience.
You only have to look at the overwhelming success of Amazon to see this principle in action.
With its fast and free delivery services, Amazon prides itself on providing ultimate ease and convenience for its customers.
By leveraging a convenient customer experience as your brand differentiator, you can instantly make yourself a more desirable option than your competitors.
The takeaway: Digital customer experience as a market differentiator
As the market becomes increasingly saturated, customer experience will continue to be a key brand differentiator for competing businesses.
Whether you differentiate your brand's experience with a unique selling point, next-level service, or convenience, the key to success is to find your niche and use it to your advantage.
You also need to utilize the right technology.
After all, if you want to differentiate your brand with exceptional customer experiences you need to consistently deliver them across all digital channels.
And that's where Talkative comes in.
Our Consultative Service Platform was specifically designed to power superior customer service and next-level, personalized experiences at every digital touchpoint.
We provide a complete suite of engagement channels that'll empower your customer advisors to connect instantly, and effortlessly, with your digital customers.
As a result, you and your customer-facing teams will be fully equipped to engage and convert more customers than ever before.
Want to learn more? Book a demo today and discover how you can set your digital customer experience apart with Talkative.