What is the local experience?
In today’s dynamic and ever-evolving economic environment, customer experiences can serve as a guiding light for building a successful business. From the very first touchpoint to the follow up feedback post-sale, the buyer’s journey is now intricately intertwined with a series of customer experiences. These experiences occur at every stage of the buyers journey, and they extend beyond the final sale too.
Each step of this journey presents a unique opportunity for companies to engage, delight, and forge lasting relationships with their customers. Whether it’s the initial research phase when a customer first discovers your business through a local search, the evaluation of other competitors, or the post-purchase support customers seek when they leave feedback, businesses must prioritize understanding and meeting the evolving expectations of their customers. Having a firm understanding of how consumers engage, where they meet hurdles, and how to advance the user journey are all key factors for reducing churn rates.
The ability to curate exceptional customer experiences at every stage of the buyer’s journey is a prominent differentiator, and can be accomplished when refining the local experience — the intersection of local marketing and customer experience. A comprehensive, well-executed local experience enables businesses to foster loyalty, improve customer delight, and achieve sustainable growth.
How can your business exceed customer expectations, eliminate bad experiences, and grow customer satisfaction levels? In this post, we’ll explore how to reshape your customer experience strategy by providing an exceptional local experience (more on what the local experience entails next).
Introducing the local experience
When we think of the term “local experience” at a high level, we may associate this with an experience a customer has with a local business or in a local area.
For the purpose of this blog post, we define local experience as the intersection between local marketing and customer experience — the gray area that is often ignored, yet is necessary to create consistent experiences.
After all, local marketing is often the first customer touchpoint, when potential customers first encounter your business. In fact, 97% of people learn more about a local company via the Internet. Knowing a potential customer will very likely learn about your business and its products or services via a search engine makes it essential to ensure your marketing and customer experience teams are in sync to form an exceptional customer experience at that first interaction.
Local experiences extend beyond just the initial encounter with your brand. Let’s dive into how local marketing and CX intersect across the user journey.
Optimize your Google Business Profile
Optimizing your online presence and ensuring your SEO strategy is sound can help your business appear more prominently in competitive search results. It also ensures a customer’s introduction to your business is a positive one, one in which they can find the information they need to take the next step.
A comprehensive local marketing strategy and top-notch solutions can help you achieve this. This ensures every field in your Google Business Profile is complete, factual, and up to date. This includes removing outdated Google Posts, updating holiday hours, leveraging all attributes available for your primary category, and more.
Create meaningful content
Customer experiences with your brand don’t end there. A customer may navigate from your Google Business Profile to your local landing page next. If they’re not met with relevant, store-specific information or promotions, this can lead to customer frustration.
For example, if a customer clicks the website link in your Google Business Profile expecting to find more information about a restaurant near them but is instead taken to the restaurant’s corporate brand page, this may lead to a poor customer experience.
The customer likely wanted to find specific information about the restaurant closest to them, such as its hours, takeout and delivery options, if they have a happy hour, and more. Being met with generic information about the overarching brand doesn’t provide a positive experience.
Go the extra mile and include relevant information on your location-specific landing pages to create a more personalized experience. This information may include points of interest nearby, organizations your business supports in the local community, neighboring stores, highlighting staff at that location, in stock products at that location, and more.
Ramp up your online reputation
Your business’ online reputation can make or break its success. The average customer reads six reviews before visiting a business. Moreover, 66% of customers trust online reviews the same amount or more than personal recommendations.
Online reputation management isn’t set it and forget it. It requires consistent monitoring, responding and analyzing. It’s also yet another key facet of local experience (and creating outstanding customer experiences). Customers now have the power to research, evaluate, and share their experiences with a global digital audience.
Poor experiences can lead to negative feedback which can tarnish your business’ reputation. However, these powerful insights can unveil how your can improve your operations and customer service experiences. And with the right technology stack, you can see incoming reviews in near real time, respond to positive and negative feedback within a centralized dashboard, assign tasks, and mine for common complaints or areas where you’re excelling.
This comprehensive view can help inform your business strategy, promote transparency in user feedback, and nuture customer relationships. By having a measurable indicator of success, these insights can inform leadership teams of how marketing and CX related activities are performing. But, marketing and CX teams must work together to create cohesive and rewarding digital experiences.
Break down cross-department silos
Siloed customer engagement strategies lead to organizational blind spots. If your marketing team isn’t communicating with your customer experience team, or vice versa, this can lead to decreased visibility into important customer feedback, missed opportunities to improve different areas of the customer journey, and the opportunity to convert angry customers into happy customers.
Consistent clear, cross-department communication closes deficiencies with a holistic understanding. Having the transparency to see and understand how customers are engaging with a business at key touchpoints — from discovery to post-sale — leads to improved customer experiences.
The local experience in action
Consider the following scenario of how marketing and customer experience teams can better align to achieve business goals. A global retail brand operates in numerous countries and regions. It has hundreds of brick-and-mortar stores but also leverages e-commerce as well. With such an expansive presence, it could be arduous to have clear insight into how each individual store is operating, how the retail brand is operating as a whole, and what online customer experiences look like.
For example, if customers are being deterred from checking out due to a large number of form fields to fill in, this may also impact offline experiences as well. Furthermore, if a customer service team at a store in San Diego, CA provides poor customer service, this will likely result in unhappy customers and affect the entire business.
A customer-centric company has clear visibility into every positive and negative experience. This deep level of customer sentiment enables the business to tailor its operations to create memorable experiences that keep customers returning.
In an ideal customer experience model, every individual store, e-commerce team, brand-level marketers, and customer experience team would have access to this wealth of data. In turn, the brand can operationalize understanding to deliver consistent experiences that elevate brand perception and reputation. Individual stores and brand-level teams would be able to see:
- How customers discover the store/brand (search engine, keyword terms)
- The actions they take on business listings (click to call, click for directions, click the website)
- If they’re clicking on an online ad, such as a Google Post or Apple Showcase
- Landing page metrics (how long customers spend on site, where they click, what they find most interesting, where they navigate to next)
- Positive and negative sentiment by volume (around which attributes, service aspects, and emotions)
- What to prioritize, monitor, consider, and maintain to continue to keep customers happy
- Online reputation in aggregate and at the individual store level
- What customers are saying about the brand or the store after they make a purchase
Comprehensive, end-to-end customer experience management powers better customer experiences and empowers internal teams. A seamless set of solutions ensures bad customer experiences are mitigated and connections with customers grow stronger. What type of software does this at scale you might ask? The Local Experience Platform has entered the chat.
Introducing the only end-to-end local marketing and CX solution for global brands
The Local Experience Platform is the first of its kind to break down the barriers that are commonly encountered with CX and marketing teams. Attract, engage, and delight customers from search to sale and beyond at every essential customer touchpoint with solutions designed to improve experiences at every step. The Local Experience Platform enables multi-location global brands to:
- Keep location data consistent and optimized anywhere customers can find you.
- Build dynamic locator and local landing page experiences.
- Monitor review platforms, understand customer sentiment, and quickly engage with reviews in near real time.
- Unite customer experience with market research, customer insights, and behavioral analytics.
- Combine deep insights at the individual level with broad observations and trends from large segments of your market.
- Gather the data you need from any touchpoint or channel into a single platform.
- See the full picture to understand customer behaviors and boost customer retention.
Interested in our solutions? Get in touch, and we can bring you up to speed.