Customer experience (CX), is the sum total of interactions to transform your business which can include awareness, discovery, cultivation, advocacy, purchases, and sales between a corporation and a customer over the duration of their relationship. Customer experience is an integral part of Customer Relationship Management(CRM).
However, what we have going is that most brands tend to destroy the most important source of sustainable growth— a loyal, profitable customer franchise. They do all sorts of things in order to increase their revenue per customer.
A brand goes ahead to raise transaction fees, the end result is that its core group of buyers is alienated. The whole issue gets complicated when it tries to expand its customer base, the effort, and resources put in place to acquire new customers distract management from serving that all-important core.
Another reason brands find it difficult to maintain a solid customer experience is that good a relationship is hard to build. It’s extremely difficult to understand what customers really want, keep the promises you make to them and maintain the right dialogue to ensure that you adjust your propositions according to customers’ changing or increasing needs.
The reason why CX is important is that a customer who has a positive experience with a business is more likely to become a repeat and loyal customer. This is the basis for the very terrible experience by United Airlines as a result of its brand crisis in 2017, in which $1.4 billion in value was wiped out overnight when a passenger’s experience (being forcibly ejected from an overbooked flight) went viral on social media.
The incident compounded that which happened a few weeks before where the same United came under fire for banning two young girls from boarding a plane because they were wearing leggings.
A Gartner survey conducted in 2016, reveals that 89 percent of companies compete primarily on the basis of customer experience – up from just 36 percent in 2010. The interesting thing is that while 80 percent of companies believe they deliver “super experiences,” only 8 percent of customers agree.
It’s important to realize that customers’ increasing expectations have brought brands and customer care into the permanent conversation era, where they, not companies, are deciding the future of client-centric organizations. Practically, customers are not willing to engage with brands that are slow to respond to their needs and requests.
They expect customer service to be timely, reliable, and effortless at any point in time. Based on this, new technologies, tools, platforms, new channels and opportunities to engage and share with customers must become part of the new norm and will reshape both many industries.
In order not to be caught napping, you must put in place the following to transform your brand into one that is led and informed by the voices of its customers.
- Conversational atmosphere
We know quite well that digital and technological innovations are revolutionizing of the global market, you must, however, recognize that real conversations and connections can never be replaced by technology. Though some purely transactional events during the customer journey will move to self-serve and automated models to streamline processes.
Our leveraging the messages objective of platforms such as Messenger, WhatsApp, WeChat or solutions like bots and chatbots should be to enhance our ability to connect and build trust, rather than replacing our role in building true relationships with customers. The challenge of building deep brand conversational atmosphere and designing exceptional conversational experiences – at all levels – needs to be the core value of what brands do and will transform customer care strategies over the coming years.
The baby boomers have joined the millennials and both are progressively moving towards self-service options — web and mobile self-service, communities, virtual agents, mobile IVRs or chatbots — as their preferred point of contact with a brand. Customers in our hyper-connected world have opinions that they are eager to share.
They organize their own communication channels with discussion forums, comments and opinions about customer shopping experiences posted throughout the web together with messaging. This all forms part of an endless conversation that has become both a source of inspiration and a means of influencing other consumers.
- Keep your promises
When customers turn against brands, the fault lies as often in the delivery of offerings as in their design. To ensure effective delivery, the top performing brands usually adopt two practices. The first is attitudinal. They treat every customer interaction as a precious resource.
They understand that while data mining and CRM systems can help them assess what customers might be thinking, the ultimate test of any company’s delivery lies in what customers tell others and they make concerted efforts to listen to the real voices of customers every day.
The second practice is organizational. They create cross-functional teams—involving employees from marketing to supply chain management—and motivate them to deliver the targeted value propositions in a coordinated, flawless manner across the entire customer experience. They recognize that customers don’t really care which function in a company responds to their needs or how cost-effective it is— they just want promises kept.
- Utilize immersive technologies
It’s not a bad idea if you foster an overall culture of ‘design thinking’ and harness technologies that enable capabilities of experience-led, proactive and zero-UI-driven solutions like Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR). AR and VR technologies are ideal technologies with which to create immersive customer experiences.
They are going to dominate customer engagement in 2020 by creating an ‘other-worldly’ experience in which customers can almost touch, feel, hear and examine products along with their features. When innovations in animation using sound, video, and graphics, are combined with technologies like mobile devices, IoT, 3D visuals, M2M, sensors, and VR/AR headsets – CX will be elevated to a whole new level and your brand will be the best for it.
- Connect emotionally with your customers
Well, the best customer experiences are achieved when a member of your team creates an emotional connection with a customer. Emotions generate attitudes that determine your decisions. The research carried out by the Journal of Consumer Research has found that more than 50% of an experience is based on an emotion.
Only when customers are emotionally attached to you will they remember your product and recall the satisfaction they derive from the use. After all, you are not the only one in the market. There are a lot of options. A brand that holds emotional connection high outperforms competitors by 85% in sales growth.
A Harvard Business Review study titled “The New Science of Customer Emotions“, revealed that emotionally engaged customers are: At least three times more likely to recommend your product or service
- Three times more likely to re-purchase
- Less likely to shop around (44% said they rarely or never shop around)
- Much less price sensitive (33% said they would need a discount of over 20% before they would defect).
CX is designed to be an engine of growth — today, that is more potential than reality. Those that are enjoying that reality can translate a rich set of CX measures to specific investments to drive revenue performance. In fact, brands that excel in CX increase revenue at twice the rate of brands that don’t.