Technological innovation of the internet, smart phones and other digital channels means that customers now interact with your brand in more ways than ever before, through an array of touch points with varying functionalities. In the same way that you should be providing a consistent customer experience across multiple channels, you should also be using these touch points to build a brand experience for the customer.
Your brand experience should include excellent customer experience, should be used to reinforce the aims of your company and should make your company memorable in the eyes of consumers. A positive brand experience backed by a friendly service, delivered in a consistent manner across channels makes you stick in the mind of a customer and differentiates you from the competition.
It's increasingly difficult to influence consumers with a brand and therefore focus has been drawn to customer experience in recent years. Without a branded experience though, customers just remember "Mark, the nice guy that helped me choose the right product" rather than "Mark the nice guy from nice Company X that helped me choose the right product and delivered on time".
The image below from BrandTouchpointMatrix.com highlights some of the different touch points between you and your customer, I'll be highlighting some of the key touch points for businesses which mainly interact with their customers online (e.g. eCommerce stores) and explaining how your brand experience can be reinforced through these channels.
If you are an eCommerce business or any other business which mainly interacts with its customers online then your website will no doubt be the cornerstone of operations. Without a good website you know that you aren't going to achieve many sales. SEO, checkout pages, product descriptions, site navigation etc. all need to be spot on; you already know that a lot of work an testing has to go into your website.
Your website should also be the cornerstone of your brand experience. A colour scheme which is consistent across channels and catches the eye is of course important but you need to consider other elements such as the tone of writing in your copy and product descriptions. Are you a fun brand or a high end fashion retailer?
The level of support you provide on your website also reflects on the overall brand (along with the customer's overall experience of course). Again you want a consistent tone of voice coming from your customer service staff and the customer service channel should be aesthetically branded. Customising your live chat window rather than using default designs is crucial, for example.
Interacting with your website through a mobile phone should come with the same experience as interacting with it on a desktop computer. Responsive design not only means that your website remains easy to use on a smaller screen but also means that it is seen with the same design, colour scheme and messaging.
If you choose to develop a mobile application for your business then this should also reflect your main website in a similar fashion. A mobile website or app which looks foreign to your website can damage the customer experience as an unfamiliar user experience detriments trust and the willingness to buy. If you want your brand experience to include great customer experience, then again, customer service options should be clearly visible and easy to use.
Like every other communication channel discussed, there should be a consistent formality when posting promotional and/or customer service messages on social media.
Branding profile pages and promotions in line with your website's design is also important. Customers need to remember the brand which they had a great experience with on Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn or other social networks if they are going to return to your website to buy from you because of it.
Your social media posts should be consistent not only in styling and the types of promotions or news you post, but also consistent in terms of the frequency that they are posted. Sending out regular posts throughout the day makes sure your entire following will at least glimpse your posts. Too many posts though and people will stop following you. Frequency of posts shouldn't change sporadically from day to day either.
Thirty percent of managers post less than once a day, or they don’t have a schedule at all, leaving them outpaced by more productive users.
Day after day my inbox is filled with emails from brands which are barely distinguishable from the next. Emails need to come with the brand experience too, they should come in a template which suits your logo and colour scheme and they shouldn't be robotic message but should match the tone of all of your other communications with customers. If you are a fun brand with a young target audience then feel free to use a little more slang than you would in a business email.
Basket abandonment emails, receipts and customer service messages are all an opportunity of reminding your customers who you are and why you are so great. Give a great customer service experience through your emails whilst enticing shoppers back to your website.
Many eCommerce businesses believe that once the sale is over then that's all of the hard work on CX and brand experience done, but it isn't. Customers should still be able to get great experiences with after sales service and when they receive their product. Not only do customers want to get their product on time and in a good condition but they also want receiving the product and unpacking it to be an experience in itself. This is another opportunity to prove that you provide more than just a product, and you can differentiate from the competition.
Consider a note saying thank you, a free sample of another product you might be pushing or loading the inside of the box with your colour scheme to make things a little more memorable. Shopify have some great ideas on how to make the unpacking process more memorable for customers.