Winning at Customer Experience in the Digital Age
As organisations around the world experience highly competitive commerce; they find a fresh approach to customer experience is being imposed on them.
Customers have taken advantage of the digital world and are now smarter than ever. The power of big-budget TV and radio advertising campaigns is being eroded by new technology.
Social media has given consumers the power to spread information about products and service – one opinion can be seen by thousands of people across Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and other websites. Additionally, customers have the power of choice via powerful search engines providing them information about the best products based on price and customer reviews.
With so much competition for the sale, what’s going to convince them to buy from you?
This is the way to win over new prospects, keep existing clients and build a business that flourishes well into the future.
How do Apple and Amazon do it? They are selling experiences, not products and services.
What makes someone buy an Apple product? Why is the iPhone the bestselling smart phone device although it is the most expensive?
It’s the experience. They make products that are beautifully designed and user friendly but they are still just a computer company – but what a great culture – it’s all about creating a relationship with Apple. Apple focuses on the experience that comes with buying an Apple product. Everything is quality, from the manufacturing of the physical product through to the UI of the operating system.
Amazon isn’t the only online retailer, yet their sales are higher than the combined sales of the next twelve biggest online retailers?
Simple. Amazon recognises that they need to create better customer experiences. As CEO Jeff Bezos noted they were, “working hard on making the Amazon customer experience better and better.” So hard in fact that they are now investing in their own U.S. delivery network and have R&D working hard on their Prime Air ‘drones.’
It all starts with the customer – this has always been true. But today there is a new breed of customer driving a new set of challenges in the dynamic between buyers and sellers.
These customers are armed with technology and an abundance of information. Nowhere is this more visible than in the retail industry. It will eventually reshape the entire process, from the moment raw materials are mined to the way they are manufactured, distributed and serviced.
Keeping up with today’s customer requires a better system from analysing critical customer and operational data and building business processes that help companies buy, market, sell and service their products, integrating business partners, suppliers, and vendors.
Today’s customers will not remain loyal to products if the cost of inefficiency is passed onto the buyer.
Better UX (user experience) and CX (customer experience) software that puts the customer at the centre of decisions, can lead to greater customer loyalty, revenue and profit margin growth, and agility.
The software needs to optimise responses, by businesses, at each stage of the transaction. These stages are:
Buy – monitoring buying behaviour across the supply chain
Market – using customer insights by following online conversations.
Sell – enable customers and partner engagement so they can exchange information and collaborate across all human, digital, social and mobile modes of access.
Service – support existing customers through their channels of choice
Roadblocks to progress
Recent research by Forrester found:
In a perfect world 74% of marketers plan to increase their multi-channel marketing spend, but in reality, 76% say their multi-channel strategy isn’t as developed as it should be,
In a perfect world 85% of consumers want an integrated shopping experience, but in reality, 50% get an integrated shopping experience
In a perfect world 72% of consumers want an integrated marketing experience, but in reality, 39% get an integrated marketing experience
86% of marketing decision-makers believe integrated marketing is critical to success, but in reality, 60% believe they must rethink their approach to multi-channel marketing
92% of marketers say social media has fundamentally changed how consumers engage with brands, but in reality, 49% of marketers actually integrated social media into their marketing strategy at some level.
They claim that:
Stagnant organisational structures inhibit a single view of the customer, which slows innovation
Outdated and hard to use tools block progress and impede efficiency
Mountains of silo’s data slow time to market and lead to loss of context, and
The growing number of consumer touch-points make it hard for IT to keep pace.
So, what’s the answer?
Benchmark your channel maturity to identify your biggest gaps
Connect technology to business goals and don’t be swayed by “wow” features you do not need
Use vendors who offer well-documented APIs and are adept at content and app integration
Keep your content creators happy by ensuring your tools are easy to use
Define your customisation plans and strategy to avoid chronic and costly development cycles
The statistics make it clear that when it comes to integrating programs across channels companies are falling short. There is a chasm between what customers expect and where multi-channel programs are. That chasm has a very real impact on business results.
These are daunting problems, but they can be overcome.
Look at the user experience of each of your marketing assets and ensure they capture their intended audience and lead them through the converting goal: A sale, a contact, a collection of info, or move them forward to the next step in their customer experience.
What are the marketing assets?
Some examples would be:
Inbound and Outbound Marketing items: Social Media, Blogging, Podcasts, Whitepapers, eBooks, Email Marketing, SEO, Display Advertising, Print Advertisements, Radio, and TV
Website Properties: Full Websites, Marketing Microsites, Landing Pages
Relationship Building and Follow-ups: Post-first-touch emails, and display advertising
Now, the above can also be an example of a customer’s journey. Imagine the customer see’s your latest social posts and clicks through to your Landing Page, or perhaps, when seeing your promotional email. In each of these marketing assets, is a specific user experience (UX) in terms of the copy and content that strategically leads the user to engage and continue their customer journey.
Once you’ve received them on your Landing Page, you have a crafted a User Experience with the potential to convert them to whatever your goal is). Then the Customer Experience journey continues as you increase the relationship with follow-up touches and communications that keeps the customer engaged.
The Customer Experience is the seamless, consistent, and tactically strategised system of all assets working together in branded harmony. Each complementing each other with consistent messaging and presentation.