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In order to investigate what customers believe is most crucial when it comes to customer experience, a study was conducted recently with 4500 U.S. consumers about 134 distinct brands in 5 different industries. The study revealed many interesting insights, the most significant being that companies experience zero-sum gains when pursuing both frictionless and memorable experiences as a competitive strategy.
This indicates that brands can only grow to a limit when going after a joint strategy of achieving a frictionless and memorable experience. Beyond that limit, the company must make a decision whether to mould a customer experience that is more frictionless or more memorable. Companies that do choose to continue adopting the joint strategy are likely to face a stunt in their growth.
Download our guide to read the insights to supercharge your customer experience programs.
So what exactly is a memorable customer experience and in what ways is it different from a frictionless customer experience?
A frictionless customer experience is one that aims to reduce any friction within the customer journey to provide customers with a completely seamless customer experience. An example of a company that focuses on creating a predominantly frictionless experience is McDonald’s. McDonald’s provides its customers with a journey that is completely frictionless, making the buying experience effortless, and encouraging repeat purchases.
A memorable customer experience, on the other hand, is one that aims to provide customers with unique experiences that they are unlikely to forget.
An example of a company that focuses on creating a predominantly memorable experience is the Ritz Carlton. The Ritz Carlton tailors truly memorable experiences for its customers by creating a company culture that encourages teamwork, a ‘never give up’ attitude, and enthusiastic customer service. By fostering such an environment, they have managed to become the gold standard of hospitality.
A common misconception is that both, a strategy aimed at reducing friction and a strategy aimed at increasing memorability, will perform equally well when trying to achieve an increased market share. However, research suggests that brands known for high memorability actually experienced diminishing returns and when compared to brands known for their frictionless experience, memorable brands tended to have lower market shares.
Although these insights seem to reveal a clear winning strategy, a strategy aimed at reducing friction may not work for all brands. Brands that are known for providing memorable experiences may have to completely discard their current positioning and strategies in order to work toward being more frictionless. Instead, organizations should capitilse on their strengths and embrace the fundamental characteristics of their brand while selecting a strategy to enhance customer experience.
Let’s take a look at some different kinds of brands and the ideal experience management strategies suited to them:
These are the brands that are cater to the mass market. Some examples would be companies such as McDonald’s, Amazon, and Target. For such brands, the ideal strategy would be to reduce friction as much as possible.
These are the brands that aim to fulfill customers needs in a way that is effortless and easy. Examples of convenience brands include 7-Eleven and Wawa. Such brands tend to have CX strategies that balance being frictionless and memorable.
Boutique brands generally specialisze in catering to a special nature of customers. Such brands compete primarily on memorability and therefore their ideal CX strategy is one that focuses on increasing the memorability of their customer journey.
Gravity brands refer to companies that are able to increase their market share despite the generally-limited potential of the memorability CX strategy. An example of a gravity brand would be Disney. Gravity brands are rare and are generally viewed as aspirational or iconic. They create significantly memorable experiences to distinguish themselves from their competitors and gain an edge in unique competitive environments.
We have developed a guide which gives you an all around view of customer loyalty
A joint strategy aimed at achieving both a frictionless and memorable customer experience will only work for companies until a certain point. Beyond that point, pursuing a joint strategy will stunt the company’s growth potential because of which brands must decide whether a memorable strategy is more suited to their needs or whether a frictionless strategy is more suited to them.
A frictionless customer experience involves aims to provide customers with a completely effortless and seamless end-to-end customer journey whereas as a memorable customer experience aims leave customers with an experience that they won’t forget.
The frictionless customer experience strategy is more suited toward some brands whereas the memorable customer experience is more suited toward others. Companies should embrace the fundamental characteristics of their brand while selecting a strategy to enhance customer experience.
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