Janine Wood
Janine Wood 30 August 2021

Beyond Customer Satisfaction by Joel Davis of Mighty Social

Think customer satisfaction and you could be forgiven for being propelled to a time when women wearing white gloves served ladies in large department stores. It smacks of the Madmen era when ads were created to satisfy a need customers did not even realise they had. Fast forward to 2021 and customer satisfaction has been totally redefined by our digital interactions - yet it is just as relevant as it once was - actually it is more so.

Philip Kotler defined customer satisfaction as a 'person's feeling of pleasure or disappointment, which resulted from comparing a product's perceived performance or outcome against his/her expectations’ - whilst this is still relevant today brands have now swapped satisfaction for experience.

If they can make the customer experience exceptional then satisfaction will follow. And by focusing on experience rather than satisfaction we are already ramping up the stakes. Let me give you a recent example to illustrate this point.

New Technology

Marketers might have fully embraced digital to enhance their brand propositions, but they can never afford to take their eyes off the next digital iteration lest the customer experience they are delivering becomes tired, lack lustre or simply outdated.

Back in the days of Madmen that would have taken years to occur - nowadays new tech is pushed to market so rapidly that marketers need to continually evaluate what will last, what is gimmicky and what the next big thing is likely to be.

Augmented Reality

So back to that example I was referring to. In the greater scheme of things Augmented Reality has been around for a long time, and whilst brands have sniffed around it with a number of low key campaigns, do you remember Heinz Tomato Ketchup ‘hidden’ recipes? That was back in 2011 and you could be forgiven for missing it.

What about Brancott Estate, ‘The world’s most curious (wine) bottle’? You would have had to be a real AR afficianado to play around with their AR overlays and lets just say that customer satisfaction here would have been low had the actual product itself not been very good anyway - certainly the cutting-edge marketing effort was lost on most customers.

But now things have really changed - brands are shifting their focus from satisfaction to actual experience as customers expect dynamic interactions. We witnessed this first hand with a global client in the toy sector.

The pandemic had thwarted their proposed in-store campaign, and like so many other brands seeking innovative ways to connect with their customers, they had to recalibrate how to take a proposed bricks and mortar experience online. And this is where the likes of AR came into its own. 

Social media has propelled AR into the limelight and the pandemic has accelerated its adoption. In this case AR was used as a branded filter consumers could overlay on their photos before sharing them with their friends. The filter was designed to reflect the planned in-store experience and taking the whole campaign online and social actually accelerated the impact and therefore the overall experience. 

So what has changed since Google Glass (another example of good AR that did not catch on - yet) - it goes back to experience - nowadays social media users - especially younger ones - love to play with face filters. Snapshat offers AR filters that users can apply to transform their faces into any number of shapes, animals or adornments.

And of course brands are riding this wave - Taco Bell’s branded filter turned Snapshat users’ faces into tacos, something that motivated users to share their taco-fied personas all with Taco Bell’s logo in the bottom corner.

AR rides this wave of shareability and a new wave has emerged brought on by the lockdowns, being able to ‘try’ products on before buying. Instagram is rife with good examples of this and the experience is engaging as well as fun. Ultimately AR is all about blurring the line between an imaginary world and reality and it is taking off because social media is the catalyst. 

Imagine seeing a beautiful sofa in an image of a model living room, it might look good but it is hard to relate this image to your own living room - until an AR filter enables you to see this sofa in your own lounge. This blurring between imaginary and reality can make impulse purchases harder to resist.

Brands can take satisfaction, engagement and experience to a whole new level - immersive experiences go way beyond your standard video - they keep customers engaged for much longer and its that interaction with a brand that sweeps ‘satisfaction’ into a whole new dimension.

As social media platforms continue to improve their AR features, brands should seriously consider making augmented reality a key element of their social media marketing strategy.

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