Customer Experience Defines Your Brand

Every entrepreneurial venture starts with a vision.

That vision is an intention – one that guides the early course of the business. It’s one that shapes business practices to build customer loyalty and sustain growth.

Eventually, there comes a time when customers have a vision that defines your brand – one that is largely determined by their experience with your company.

They develop expectations that influence the future vision of the company – or should.

The challenge is reconciling their expectations with yours.

Author James Patterson was known to create new endings to his thrillers when his original one did not meet the satisfaction of his audience.

Was he selling out the vision for his novel? Or was he learning to listen and adapt to the marketplace?

Perception is Everything

One of the most important things I’ve learned in my career is that you need to determine where you can be flexible – and where you should stand firm.

During my two decades as a landscape contractor, I learned that my customers viewed shrubs, bushes, and multi-stem ornamental trees as pretty much the same. As a result, they expected to pay an equitable price for all of them, despite the fact that the cost differences were substantial – often hundreds of dollars.

One of my best customers, who was also a mentor, loved to say that perception is everything. I didn’t agree with him – but I came to learn he was right.

For example, in my current work I know there are differences between web, online, digital, Internet, and social media marketing. Yet, I’ve come to understand that many do not make that distinction.

The Art of Compromise

As a professional speaker, the title of my presentations and their descriptions are essential for successfully marketing an event. This is where I have to listen to and trust my client – and why I am extremely flexible about both.

Language is a funny thing. We can all speak the same language, but the words can have different meanings, based upon our backgrounds and industries.

Nevertheless, the success of my presentation, and therefore, the event, is largely determined by the content that I deliver and how it is presented.

Thus, I cannot possibly compromise my core message if I expect to earn the loyalty and trust of my customer – my audience. It’s my job to know what works and what doesn’t.

And it’s yours too.

You know more about your product or service than your customers will ever know. If you let them redefine what works to create a favorable experience, you will fail – and you will likely fail big.

Create Exceptional Experiences

How your customers define your brand is a direct result of their experience with it. Create exceptional experiences and you are guaranteed to succeed.

What doesn’t matter is how you label or describe those experiences – namely, because you aren’t the one having the experience.

It is indeed possible to be a successful artist and business person if you are open to compromise.

The key is knowing how.

Creating exceptional customer experiences comes from knowing that your customers are collaborators – co-conspirators that want precisely what you do.

Take that and create a favorable experience that defines your brand.

About the Author:  Jeff Korhan, MBA, is the author of Built-In Social: Essential Social Marketing Practices for Every Small Business and host of This Old New Business podcast.

He helps mainstream businesses adapt their traditional growth practices to a digital world. Connect with Jeff on LinkedInTwitterFacebook, and Google+

Photo Credit: renjith krishnan