Mapping the Customer Journey

Meeting with a major national retailer to discuss its direct marketing strategy, I was introduced to someone with the title, “Chief Experience Officer.” I was super jazzed to work with a client so committed to the customer experience that it:

1. dedicated a C-Level officer exclusively to managing the customer experience, and

2. included that individual in a direct marketing strategy meeting.

The Experience Officer marks the realization that companies are measured on factors well beyond the four P’s of marketing. Forward-thinking, service-oriented companies have long taken this approach.

  • Bellhops at Ritz-Carlton, for example, have the autonomy to comp up to $2,000 in the case of any unsatisfied guest.
  • Nordstrom sales associates famously have enormous latitude to make the customer happy.
  • Meanwhile, years earlier, employees at the late, lamented Marshall Field’s were instructed not to foist sales on uninterested shoppers; the notions of “Give the lady what she wants.” and “The customer is always right.” were early examples of minding the customer experience in a way that added value and competitive advantage.

Printing may not be the exact equivalent of shopping in a department store or staying at a luxury hotel, but customers buying print services will judge a shop by their own customer experience with that printer. They will compare that experience to those they’ve had buying from competitive printers, or any other business service.

Our world of print is hyper-competitive. Supply far outweighs demand, which means that buyers have the power to be very scrutinizing. Setting your company apart is harder than ever.

Price, quality and service are the price of entry, and the smallest of mistakes can weigh heavily in a client’s decision on which supplier to partner with for that next job. Striking the wrong tone in an email, not communicating in the way the client prefers, or countless other “small things” are what determine whether you are a valued partner—or left out in the cold.

A third-generation printer, Dustin LeFebvre delivers his vision for Specialty Print Communications as EVP, Marketing through strategy, planning and new product development. With a rich background ranging from sales and marketing to operations, quality control and procurement, Dustin takes a wide-angle approach to SPC

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