It’s positive to see that although AI and data-driven marketing continue to grow, excellent customer experience still makes it to the top of the future Marketing trends list.

There is a saying that goes “Your smile is your logo…. The way you make others feel is your trademark”.

My recent experiences are testimony to this.

As we do, I searched online for well-priced pet food and decided to give PetPost a go even though I’ve not ordered from them before. My order was delivered perfectly and on time, but then my beloved (fat cat) Ava decided she doesn’t like Hill’s Science Diet Perfect Weight dry food that much, even though she was on Hills previously and this is chicken flavour again. I was doubtful to contact PetPost, but one email later and my issue was resolved. Hannah G organised a full refund, offered a good alternative kibble option, and suggested that instead of returning the food, perhaps I would like to donate it to a local animal shelter. Wow!

This experience is so unlike the one I had with Pelican. When my new iPhone dropped, I gave it no thought as I purposefully chose a Pelican cover with a “reinforced back panel, cushioned corners, impact-absorbing ridges provide maximum protection and 4.5m drop protection”. A few days later I noticed a crack on the back and contacted Pelican to establish how this is even possible as the height of the drop was less than 1m. Their response was that their no-damage guarantee is for their covers, not my phone. Unlucky.

Now, I’m in marketing and blessed with extraordinary tenacity, so it was impossible for me to leave it at that. Consulting the ACCC, I learned that under the Australian Consumer Law, products and services come with automatic guarantees that they “will work and do what I asked for”. ACCC advised that my rights are best placed with the business I gave my money to: hello JB Hi-Fi! After months of back and forth, the inconvenience of having my phone sent to Apple for evaluation (after it was evaluated by a local iPhone specialist), and running my business from a loan phone for a week, my issue got resolved. JB Hi-Fi was willing to compensate me for 50% of the purchase value. Not so wow.

Without a request, I gave PetPost a glowing Google review and for less than $50 they now have an authentic customer review that will encourage other customers to shop with them as well. As for Pelican, I will never consider them again and think twice before shopping at JB.

Good customer experience is really simple. It’s about how you make your customers feel.

If you’d like to turn your customers into marketing advocates for your brand, take note of these non-negotiable guidelines and their outcomes

Customers buy good feelings. Customers want to be heard and feel appreciated and valued. Identify and anticipate their needs by keeping track of the enquiries your business gets. Also, skill your team to authentically understand your customers and get to the bottom of underlying issues. These are easy ways to bolster your business’ reputation and distance yourself from competitors.

Make the process easy and frictionless. Too many convoluted processes create roadblocks and roadblocks cause friction. When there are friction customers may decide it’s not worth it and end their action altogether. Unless this is what you’re hoping for, a seamless, easy process will offer you the opportunity to delight your customers and turn them into loyal brand advocates.

The power of Yes. When you agree to help your customers, do what you say and say what you do. And be quick. Simple.

Go above and beyond. Never ignore the impact your business has on your customers and be first to apologise if you fail to meet their expectations. High levels of customer satisfaction result in increased retention, recurring business, glowing testimonials, and free referrals. Let your customer interactions be so impactful and unexpected that they warrant their discussions.

A customer-first culture and continued innovation can turn you into a marketing superstar and strangers into brand advocates, for free. If you’re interested in more on this topic Jesus Christ Marketing Superstar is a read that thinks differently about how to engage customers and grow a fan base of millions.