5 Customer Experience Lessons From Your Mother

Customer Experience Is The New Marketing Black

Customer Experience LessonsYou can learn a lot about customer experience and how to treat your audience from your mother.

Unlike children, your audience including potential buyers, their purchase influencers, customer and end-users are often only numbers to marketers.

They translate to leads and sales; they’re proof of your marketing acumen.

Yet they’re human beings.

While as a marketer you may not care, you should pay attention to them.

Wonder why?

Because these potential buyers and customers have people who care about and depend on them.

These people sway buying decisions based on how they feel about your products, business and brand—your customer experience.

Want to know a secret (Of course you do!)?

In a world where messages bombard us everywhere we look, your audience can’t focus. To stand out, show them you care.

This concept isn’t new.

Customer experience is at the heart of Aesop’s Fable about the Sun and the Wind. They bet on who could make a man remove his coat first.

Like your push advertising, the wind blew and blew. As a result, the man got cold and gripped his coat tighter. Similarly, the more you force your marketing messages on your audience the more they find ways to avoid them.

Then the sun burned brightly making the man so hot he removed his jacket. The sun was like your pull marketing. It’s useful for your audience; they actively look for it.

Mother’s Day is a good time learn some customer experience lessons from mom.

Like your mom, stop and appreciate your audience. They deserve your respect.


Customer Experience (CX) Defined

Customer experience is how your prospects, influencers, customers and other get to know and engage with your products, business and brand in different contexts both online and in real life. As a result, they own your brand.

The marketing power of customer experience is grounded in their ability to get people to talk about your business. (2015 Return on WOM (aka: Word Of Mouth) research.)

  • WOM drives 13% of sales. By contrast, total paid marketing drives 20% to 30% of sales.Word of Mouth Chart
  • Offline WOM produces 66% of WOM impact and online WOM produces 33% of WOM impact.Word of Mouth impact online and offline

To increase marketing effectiveness, improve your customer engagement and other “soft” human attributes rather than augment marketing spend.

89% of marketers will compete on customer experience in 2017 according to Gartner. Together, these moments can sway customers’ preferences along the buy-own-advocate continuum. Here’s the customer experience journey visualization via Augie Ray.


Customer Experience JourneyCustomer Experience Journey Across Buy, Own and Advocate Visualization

At its heart, customer experience depends on your business’s ability meets your audience’s expectations of your products, services and brand.

Customer experience encompasses the lifetime of your customer’s interactions with your firm (before, during and after purchase).

By building a loyal base of customer advocates customer experience drives long-term brand and business growth.

Forrester’s Harley Manning defined customer experience across different marketing media in a chart in 2010.

Customer Experience Journey Chart 2010 Forrester


5 Customer Experience Lessons From Mom

For marketers seeking customer experience lessons, mothers are a great source of time-testing wisdom. They’ve spent years dealing with an often willful and/or unresponsive audience. (Sound like someone you know?)Customer Experience Lessons

5 Lessons in Customer Experience Learned From Mom via HeidiCohen.com

1. Customer Experience Lesson: “What part of NO don’t you understand?”

Like other moms, my mother was good at saying “no.” Of course, we were never sure whether no really meant no and I’m going to tell your father, or if we could persuade her to change her mind.

Mom Inspired Customer Experience Lesson:

Listen to your prospects and customers. Find out what they think they want.

Note: This doesn’t mean you should be all things to all prospects.

Actionable Customer Experience Marketing Tip:

  • Create a set of marketing personas. Understand your audience by putting yourself in their shoes. Sample of a marketing persona via Hubspot
  • Don’t be overbearing. I get that it’s difficult to let a prospect have space but, like children, don’t push them or they may get obstinate.
  • Speak to your audience in language they understand, namely human. Skip the corporate-speak.

2. Customer Experience Lesson: “No good deed goes unpunished.”

My mother would said this every time she went out of her way for one of us. Inevitably, we didn’t appreciate that what she did took extra effort and was her way of showing she cared a lot.

Mom Inspired Customer Experience Lesson:

Don’t expect your audience including prospects and detractors to love your marketing, business or offering. Instead make it useful so it meets their needs, not your promotional goals.

Actionable Customer Experience Marketing Tip:

  • Design your marketing, sales and customer service efforts around how your prospects want to interact with your firm. Don’t make it one size fits none. Also make it flexible enough and tailor it to specific customer needs.

3. Customer Experience Lesson: “Money doesn’t grow on trees.”

Many mothers have their way of teaching their children the value of money regardless of their income level.

Mom Inspired Customer Experience Lesson:

Appreciate your customer’s investment (both financial and time) in your firm’s offering.

Don’t assume they feel it’s worth the price you assigned it. Align your pricing with your marketplace and unique qualifications.

Otherwise, you may make a sale that results in a poor customer experience thereby loosing future revenues.

Actionable Customer Experience Marketing Tips:

  • Show prospects your product’s value. Don’t compete on price alone. Rather explain what the customer experience includes.
  • Talk about price. Listen to Marcus Sheridan’s They Ask, You Answer. Always provide price and costs or you may loose the sale. No one has unlimited budget.

4. Customer Experience Lesson: “Don’t use that tone with me.”

What mom likes their teenager’s snarky attitude? When you were younger, you mom might said, “Mind your manners” or “Don’t talk until spoken to.”

The bottom line: Be nice. It’s the right way to treat people.

Mom Inspired Customer Experience Lesson:

In today’s connected, multi-cultural world you never know who or how someone may interpret your words, tone or presentation. While in-person interactions allow you to add context to the situation, online and social media communications can be misinterpreted.

“You don’t get a second chance to make a good first impression” is another mom lesson regarding customer experience.

Actionable Customer Experience Marketing Tips:

  • Set customer experience guidelines for your staff. Apply them to everyone including your c-suite for any interaction with people outside of your company.
  • Get outside your bubble. Ask for input on your marketing materials including content, social media and communications. Early in my career, I worked for a CEO who thought he knew better than his ad agency. The result was a television advertising campaign that turned our core audience off.

5. Customer Experience Lesson: “I’ve seen you look better in clothes.”

This was my mother’s discrete way of saying you look like crap. Even more embarrassing, she often dispensed this advice in crowded, open ladies fitting rooms.

Mom Inspired Customer Experience Lesson:

Dress your business for success. This applies to your online presence, content and communications as well as your offline retail, customer service, and product (or service).

Actionable Customer Experience Marketing Tip:

  • Make your content and communications more effective and easy-to-consume. Allow for scanning and limited-focus consumption. Include bolding, short sentences and visuals.
  • Use your retail outlet to spotlight your business. Put your best stuff in the window and work it!

BONUS Customer Experience Lesson: “Want to lick the beaters?”

My mom was a great cook. The kitchen was her favorite room. Its long counters allowed her the space to create meals my father deemed “delicious.” When she made cakes or cookies, the lucky child got to lick the beaters and bowl. (Who says no to that?)

Mom Inspired Customer Experience Lesson:

Offer unexpected treats. It’s even better when your customer feels singled out. Face it there’s never much frosting or cookie dough left unless mom did it on purpose.

Answer: What can you do for your customer so she feels like she’s part of an exclusive club?

Last week Enterprise Car Rental at Newark Airport surprised us with 2 free bottles of water. We felt special. I’ve never gotten that from another car rental including their New York City locations!

Actionable Customer Experience Marketing Tip:

  • Surprise your customers with something special. Go beyond the weekly sales and promotions. Offer unusual events and treats or even special hours.


The Customer Experience Lessons From Mom Conclusion

Provide a high quality customer experience based on the expectations that you and the market have set.

Unlike a single email, piece of content or social media communication, customer experience encompasses every customer interaction over time.

Meet or exceed their expectations every time or leave your brand vulnerable to customer defections.

Like mom, continue to show your audience your love on a consistent basis to build your relationships over time.

It’s how you treat all of your prospects and customers.

You can’t throw money at customer experience.

It won’t fix it.

Instead, be yourself and engage with your prospects and customers.

Like your mom, your audience will love you.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.


Photo Credit: https://unsplash.com/search/mother-child?photo=Wr3HGvx_RSM CC Zero

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