The Customer Experience: why your business blog is crucial

customers,customer experience,brands,business,blogging,writing

It’s how your brand and business make people feel, that really matters

Recently I heard a brilliant talk by Andrea Burton, from her UK-based insight and research consultancy by the same name, about the realities of the customer experience. I learned a lot from what Andrea shared and realised how important it is to apply her wise advice to the content of business blog posts. So here are a few things that I interpreted from her talk.

Customers don’t buy products, services, or even brands: they buy experiences

Although you might think this concept is only applicable to the big consumer brands, it isn’t. It goes far beyond that, right into B2B communications and right down to micro-businesses where there is just you, your coffee percolator, your dog and of course, your customer.

Everyone from Apple and Virgin downwards is now working on the customer experience and focuses tightly on how people feel about dealing with their companies, products and services. And it’s not just in terms of factual stuff like product quality, technical expertise, good customer service, etc.

We aren’t in the coffee business, serving people. We’re in the people business, serving coffee.
Howard Schultz, CEO of Starbucks (quote thanks to Andrea Burton Associates)

Of course the factual elements are important, too. But what drives the whole thing is not matter-of-fact issues: it’s all about emotions – how your dealings with them make you feel.

Enter the business blog: probably the most useful tool in the box

I know I always harp on about the need for you to be yourself when you blog for business. But given what Andrea’s experience and knowledge demonstrates, you can see that you need every opportunity you can lay your hands on to develop an open, honest, personal relationship with your customers.

This is it – this is what matters – the experience of a product – how it makes someone feel. Stop trying to figure out how to sell something to somebody: figure out how you want your customers to feel.
Ron John, Apple Senior VP (quote thanks to Andrew Burton Associates)

And needless to say your business blog is the ideal medium in which to help nurture a good personal relationship with all your readers, customers and prospects. Why?

1.Blogs are known to be the relaxed, non-pushy element of any business website. Savvy business bloggers never take the p*ss in their posts by writing barely-camouflaged ad copy. They respect the fact that the blog area is non-salesy-pushy and just focuses on sharing information, comments, even light-hearted content that readers will find helpful and relevant.

2.For reasons given in #1 above, readers and customers tend to trust your blog posts as being far less commercial than the more marketing-orientated sections of your website. So what you say in your blog posts is likely to be taken in more informally – and more personally.

3.Following on from the above, you can use your blog to relax and kick your shoes off, metaphorically, and communicate with your readers/customers as you, the person – rather than you, the company / brand. Much as this (initially!) may make you feel like you’re walking naked in front of an audience of thousands … once you get used to the idea of communicating with your readers/customers on this level you will get to love it. They will love you for being yourself – the person behind the brand – and you will love being able to share with them all the excellent values you offer, as a friend and colleague.

What do you think about The Customer Experience?

blogging,news,writing,business,Suzan St Maur,,how to write betterHave you ever looked at the whole emotional element of how your customers feel about working with you?

Do you think maybe you can improve on your experiential relationships with your customers … not necessarily by improving nuts and bolts elements of customer service, but by improving the way customers feel about dealing with you?

And how well do you think you can express this through publishing appropriate posts on your business blog?

Please share!
photo credit: sean_hickin via photopin cc




  1. It’s always been about serving the customers, and more recently been framed as customer perception. But to begin with how people ‘feel about us’, whilst a start, is really what Gregory Bateson referred to as a logical typing error.

    You see, it’s not about how customers feel about us that makes a difference – that comes later. What matters is how we regard ourselves in relationship to others. It’s no use pretending that we feel O. K. about serving others if we’re having a lousy time working under limiting conditions serving a bad boss. Customer will sense the tension and not feel good about the transaction.

    We are all be in the people business, whether we make shoes, write blogs, bake bread, or photograph the world. Howard Schultz’s is smart to have recognized this.

  2. I find that, although I write more and more about how people can learn/ improve their German on their own, I also get more enquiries for lessons. I guess that’s because a) they feel they know me and b) they also know I won’t rip them off by insisting on more lessons than they feel they need/ can afford etc …

  3. That’s exactly what I mean about the importance of carrying through the notion of a good customer experience right throughout your business blog writing, Angelika. You’re building up good relationships with your customers, with mutual trust and personal liking – all very precious qualities for long term business success.

  4. Thinking about how you want people to feel as an outcome of anything you do (business or private) tends to work well. It’s certainly something I try to include in my planning for any sort of comms – written or verbal. People tend to remember how they felt when they saw/heard/read something and hopefully associate the feelings with the content/message. It’s why most people can remember what they were doing or where they were when they heard that JFK had been assassinated or John Lennon murdered.

    • Very good advice – thanks Andrea. (I usually try to make people laugh and relax when we work together: most of my clients seem to enjoy the feel of that!) Also, as Stephen suggested above ^^^ it’s important that you have plenty of confidence in yourself and your brand, to be able to generate that good feeling. And that confidence needs to show through in your business blogging, which is not only a spearhead marketing tool but also is a very important part of the customer retention/experience process.

  5. I think it must have been a blogger once ho said blogging was less commercial to get people to but his or her blogging services…how very commercial of them ;0)
    when you are in business you are commercial… that is not the same as saying be desperate… yet you are in the business of making money not just giving away freebies or great content with how to’s etc…it doesn’t serve your audience or yourself… I am not sure people have grasped that that there is nothing wrong with saying, hey I do this and you can buy it especially as you have that which this will help. That isn’t pushy that is just cutting to the chase…there are times when you want to reveal yourself and connect and educate your market which is different …it is all in the strategy and your approach…but if you aren’t commercially minded you will struggle to make ends meet in business… IMO 🙂

    • I agree there’s nothing wrong with being commercial, Sarupa, but what we’re saying here is that increasingly what we’re selling is experiences, not merely goods and services.

      If you’re selling coffee and cake in a pleasant, attractive, environment rather than just selling coffee and cake off a market stall, you’re selling an experience. And the point that Andrea made in her talk was that selling a good experience is likely to lead to greater and more sustained commercial success on the part of the vendor, than if they just sell the product or service and that’s all.

      Even with retailers selling cheap and cheerful FMCG goods like LIDL, ALDI, ASDA, Walmart, etc. foraging around in their almost warehouse-like stores and bringing your own bags to pack your purchases in is all part of an experience that shouts out “hey – this is no-frills so we can save you a lot of money!”

      Similarly with your business blog posts, you’re likely to sustain better relationships with your customers if you write about things that encompass their experiences related to your product or service, rather than merely writing commercial “buy this now” posts.

  6. At a time when most big experts talked about ROI, I was busy stating that ROR (return on relationships) is the single most important thing in business. Numbers are important, but there is no way you can put a dollar sign on everything. You need to be able to measure results because you have to know where to invest your time and energy, but at the end of the day it’s about how well you treat your customers. How special you make them feel.

    As I have always said: Social media is about the human journey. Plain and simple.

    Great article, Suzan, thank you!

    • What a great concept – ROR. Totally agree there. Yet many business people just don’t “get” it, although the nay-sayers are slowly being dragged, albeit kicking and screaming, into content/inbound marketing as more and more customers are turning against the old hard-sell approaches.

      Glad you liked the article, Cendrine!

  7. Great post Suzan, having a blog is certainly crucial for any kind of business website, as you mentioned a blog is one of the best tool to build relationships with readers and building relationships it’s the best way to gain their trust. People buy from people gaining the trust of potential costumers is a must!

    Thanks for sharing!

    • Yasou Kostas! You’re very welcome and thank you for your kind words. The more blogging progresses, the more we are seeing just what a valuable tool it is in an ever-widening range of ways. For me, as a blogger and a blog writing teacher, this is a very exciting time.

  8. And at the end of the day, you’ve only attracted customers when they felt the connection and message you’re trying to convey. Starbucks’ boldness struck right into the emotions of its consumers, I myself included. I also appreciate how Apple unceasingly innovates with their consumers deep in mind and just how they’ve introduced the first perfect smartphone. It was phenomenal!

    • Hi Ian – great to see you here and thanks for commenting! Yes, indeed – Starbucks and Apple really have got it right, and are reaping the rewards for it. It’s surprising, therefore, that many other big-name brands aren’t following suit … or at least if they are trying to, they’re not doing a very good job of it. Why would you say that is?


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