Happy National Coffee Day!

Starbucks didn’t create the coffee culture; there were plenty of places to get a cup of coffee before they started. What they did was turn a once-upon-a-time purchase into a daily ritual for many of us. (Short Flat White anyone?) When Howard Shultz bought the Seattle-based firm, he shifted our idea of what coffee could be. No longer simply slopped into a cold white cup as an afterthought; its preparation was handled with craftsmanship and care, the star of the show. Now, those drinks with the fancy Italian-sounding names – once thought to be available to the rich, famous and educated – were available down the street.

When speaking about the world of branding and client experience, I often use the Starbucks example of moving from a commodity to an experience. They welcome you into a hip “third place” – sometimes knowing your drink as you walk in – usually with a hand-selected play list in the background, greeting you with a scripted request, “What can I get started for you today?” It is evident Starbucks thinks about every inch of your journey.

And, you’ve likely seen that happen in other industries – computer retailers, book sellers, shoe peddlers and theme parks come to mind. Even banks understand the significant and value of focusing on client experience.

[Tweet “More emphasis will be on the client experiences a company delivers to create a competitive advantage. ~ Walker Insights”]

Have you considered your client’s experience? Have you mapped their client journey?

What do they experience the moment they engage with you? As you plan for 2018, my recommendation is that you begin to map that experience.

Here’s a starting point: Do you have a client welcome package? Rather than simply throwing paper at them to sign, is there a way to acknowledge their trust in you and your services before digging into the work? For now it could be simply a handwritten thank you note. You could eventually move to a sweetly packaged gift that includes a note. (Hey, maybe an artisan coffee mug with some locally roasted beans?)

What about having your phone number on the front page of your website, rather than behind a Contact Us button? How does your inbound voicemail message sound? Do you help them beyond their financial lives?

While compliance can be a hindrance for some marketing efforts, many of these “wow”able moments can happen outside of the compliance bubble. Need inspiration? Look outside of financial services. Pay attention to your own customer experience. Look for an extra special interaction. They are often tiny and might even seem inconsequential until you see how they add up to create a unique connection.

Need even more inspiration? Download my Brand Touchpoint Audit Checklist.

See you soon?

This fall I’m headed out and about to speak at a variety of industry events and meetings. I’ll be discussing all things marketing from branding, digital and client experience. I hope to see you there. (Or, book me for one of your events.)

Excel 401k | Las Vegas, NV | October 22-24, 2017: Behind the Curtain, A Day In The Life of a CMO and Next Steps Discussion: Elevating Branding & Marketing

WIFS 2017 National Conference | Minneapolis, MN | October 25 – 27, 2017: You Are Who Google Says You Are

Schwab Impact 2017: Out Care the Competition: How to Use the Power of Brand and Client Experience to Differentiate Your Firm