Maybe the title should read "Why you need to adapt your customer experience to build customer relationships, or your business will fail miserably like the rest before you". But that's a bit too long, and not quite as catchy...

It is true though. If businesses don't adapt the customer service and experience provided to suit their customers, they fail.

It's not as simple as copying and pasting methods used by competitors.


No two businesses are the same. If everyone's business was the same, everyone would struggle.

Look at the most successful companies in the world: Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google to name a few. What do they all have in common? They offer a better customer experience than the rest of their competitors, for now, anyway.

They all understand the importance of their customers, so they've adapted to suit them.

The best way to understand customers is undoubtedly through building customer relationships. But if it's really that simple, then why do so many companies alienate their target audience?

How they act, how they see your brand, how they interact with you - It's all-important in customer relationship marketing.

Some companies decide to play a personality-less approach when replying to their customers. But playing it safe, is hardly going to make you stand out. Companies that decide to change up the customer experience, often on social media, can build stronger customer relationships than those who don't.

What Is Adapting In The World Of Customer Experience?

Every business is different, and so are their customers. You can't put square pegs in round holes, and the same applies to the customer service plan and the overall experience provided.

There are some excellent customer service teams out there, especially on social media, as we'll see later on. Whether they're serious with robotic-like, immediate responses, or have a bit of fun with their customers, the best companies are in tune with their audience and know what they want from them.

It's not viable for every business to copy and paste the same method when interacting with customers. It's almost impossible to build a relationship with customers doing this. Be the type of company that you and your customers want you to be. Don't try to be another company; be better than them!

There's nothing wrong with being serious and safe, but will it give you the competitive edge you desire? Sometimes, but most times it will not.

What Is A Customer Relationship?

The 'Customer Relationship' is the ongoing relationship between the company and a customer, and is often measured by their customer satisfaction levels.

It's developed through customer service, marketing communications, sales support as well as any other communication a company may have with the customer.

Why Should You Adapt?

Every customer base is different, so it only makes sense to communicate with them all differently. With this in mind, it's a bad idea to generalise your consumer base just because you are similar to another brand.

Sure, a lot of different types of people may interact with your brand, but what do they all have in common? If you can find what it is, then you can find the common ground on how you can effectively interact with them.

Once the style of communication is figured out, it's time to build customer relationships - but with all things in life, it's an ever-changing, on-going process.

It's a good idea to tinker with the way you deliver your messages; some will be a success, some will fall flat. Be prepared to fail, and you'll succeed as the saying goes.

The best customer service is adapted and tailored to the customer's needs, demands, and attitudes. Since they are ever-changing, you should be too.

Some companies can get away with giving an unpersonalised experience, which is fine, but others can't; especially those in a niche market, with a smaller audience.

Don't Go Charging In!

Be warned, though! If you do decide to go for a more personal approach, it is ESSENTIAL to ensure that the tone and language you use matches the customer's expectations.

If one minute you're plain Jane because your customers want this approach, and the next you've turned into a sarcastic, meme-fuelled account, they will be baffled (and probably annoyed).

If they're not into what is being posted, or providing, they'll be put off the company altogether.

So, how do you move on from the boring copy and paste customer experience provided? What better way to learn than from those who've done it best?

1. dbrand: Taking Sassy Customer Service To A New Level

When you know how your customers' act, it becomes easy to align your brand's personality to match theirs.
Everyone loves something they can relate to.

Have a look at dbrand's Twitter account, for example. They are masters when it comes to interacting with their audience.

So, how do you move on from the boring copy and paste customer experience provided? What better way to learn than from those who've done it best?

dbrand reply on Twitterdbrand Twitter advert

Can you image other brands getting away with this level of sass?

Put it this way; I'd be shocked if Virgin Media suddenly called me fat. However, with dbrand, it's funny, and it's what their customers have come to expect from them.

There are some even ruder replies to customers, although we decided not to include them in the photo list.

How Do They Get Away With It?

Because they understand their audience, plain and simple! Look at the replies, likes, and favourites they get; everyone loves it!

Thanks in part to showing their 'don't give a s**t attitude' side to their brand on social media, their audience has continued to grow.

Their customers are meme-loving, sarcastic millennials (or Generation Z's); so dbrand get to send borderline abusive messages to their customers, yet they love it! It's a win-win for everyone!

With over 1.5 million followers on Twitter, they must be doing something right, and, every time someone retweets or favourites their sarcastic response, more people see it. Genius.

2. Greggs: A Bakery That's Self Aware

To some extent, Greggs has become a joke (but a very successful one). They've become an iconic and a household name in the UK.

But it's not always been like this; I remember earlier marketing strategies from Greggs being very serious. Since the Greggs 'rebirth', they've taken a different approach to the customer experience they provide, mainly on social media.

Whether you like their baked goods or not, they know how to laugh at themselves.

Those who love Greggs really love it. It's become a staple in the British economy, so why not play on it?

Greggs Being a MemeGreggs and Jeremy Clarkson

All hail the mighty sausage roll! (Vegan options also available).

Greggs became aware of their iconic status amongst UK culture, grabbed it, and ran!

3. IKEA: A Day Out

Stepping out of the online world, let's take a look at IKEA.

Simply put, IKEA is a furniture store, but it has become far more than that.

The Swedish company quickly realized that their customers didn't just want a bog-standard store - they wanted an experience.

You don't merely spend 10 minutes in IKEA; you spend hours! All that walking around and shopping gives people an appetite; so they introduced cafes!

Perfect, the customer can spend as long as they want in the well-thought-out store, safe with the knowledge they can have a stop for a bite to eat and a drink halfway through.

IKEA: Sofa and a Snack

As they've strived to improve the customer service they provide, they've introduced features like children's play centers. More recently (well, starting around six years ago), they released a phone app so customers can see what furniture looks like in a room before they buy it!

Now, if we do switch our attention to their social media channels, you'll notice it is a lot more serious than the previous two companies.

This is because customers only interact with IKEA online for product and purchase inquiries or complaints.

IKEA on Twitter

Their real, unique customer experience is in-store, and everybody knows that. After all, IKEA is known for its stores, not their social media accounts!

A perfect example of a company not trying to be something they're not.

4. Trello: Not Just Another Automated Reply

Trello is all about making life easier for you and your team. If you haven’t heard of them, they offer an online work space in which colleagues can manage anything from small tasks to big projects.

Not only do they want to make your life easier, but they’re not ashamed of how they make their life easier – through automation.

When you apply for a job with Trello, they don’t try trick you into thinking you’re getting a personalised response from the top dog, or send you the boring, standard “Thank you for your application. You will hear back from us soon”.

Have a quick read of part of the email they send you (whilst it may not be strictly customer service, it’s still something we should take note of:

"Hurrah! We have received your job application. At least, we think it’s yours. It is possible that someone who thinks very highly of you is forwarding around your resume while pretending to be you. That’s not a bad thing, is it?

In any case, this is an automatic email, sent by a mindless robot, to let you know that we’re absolutely thrilled that you would be interested in working for Trello. We’re very honored.
Even though this is an automatic email, it’s not the usual blah blah, so please read on!

First of all—what to expect? Well, it may take a week or ten days (or even three or four as our volume of applications have increased) before a developer gets around to reviewing your application. We’re a small company, and to be honest sometimes eating lunch seems more important than reviewing resumes. But we will assure you that a real live human being, not an automated computer zapper program, will review your application carefully, and only after drinking plenty of coffee and getting lots of sleep and exercise, and under no circumstances will we reject your application because you lack ten years of experience in a technology that was invented only last year."

What’s not to love about this email? It’s honest, it’s funny, and it’s totally different to any other application response I’ve ever received or sent. Before you even talk to anyone about the job, you feel like you’re friends with them – this isn’t just another corporate, cold company. This is a company you could go for a beer with at the pub.

Even if I didn’t get the job, I’d be happy I just got to see the email they sent me!

The Take-Away

The moral of the story? Understand your audience before you attempt to build-up customer relationships.

It may sound a fun idea to go for an approach similar to dbrand, or even Greggs, but be careful before you do! This is not guaranteed to work for every company and can do a lot more harm than good if executed poorly.

Making a competitive advantage for your company can be hard enough; so don't give yourself a disadvantage. Analyze your business, look at your audience, carefully test, repeat.

No matter how much you want to make jokes and poke fun on your social media account, sometimes the IKEA approach is best. Keep it simple online, and create the real difference in-store.

So how can you start to understand what your customers think of the service you provide? By straight-up asking them!

Cxceed automatically sends out benchmark surveys and feedback requests so you can keep a close eye on how satisfied your customers are with the customer experience you provide.

Why not check it out, and start improving your customer service today!

Have anything to add or want to start a conversation about one of the points raised? Leave a comment down below!

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