Today’s customer experience is characterized by the following:
Expectations are rising at an exponential rate:
- Customers are adopting new technologies and tools faster than ever, expecting a certain level of convenience and user friendliness across all channels and industries;
- At the same time they crave for authentic, relevant and emotional experiences that make them feel special and personally addressed.
Customers are not thinking in terms of channels, it’s no longer about what’s digital and what’s not. It’s all about their intrinsic need, emotions and experience.
Your challenge as a business is not only to create relevant customer experiences at the right time and place. It’s also about maintaining consistency of those winning experiences across all channels.
Global and local businesses around us, are slowly adapting to the above customer trends.
- On one side of the spectrum, we see physical point of sales investing in technology and digital touchpoints within their traditional shopping journey. Think about the use of smartphones while shopping (for example searching product information by scanning QR codes or paying for your groceries with Android Pay or Payconiq), virtual fitting rooms and fully automated self-checkout systems.
At the same time, these originally ‘brick-and-mortar’ players try to emphasize their “physical” strengths by maximizing the emotional customer experience within the shop/agency. This leads to new concept stores (concept store Mediamarkt Wilrijk, CRU, …) where it’s all about sensing, feeling, experiencing…
- On the other side of the spectrum, we see pure online players like Amazon and Cool Blue opening their own physical shops, because they also believe human interactions matter.
In order to face the above challenges and create winning experiences across all channels, we identified 4 best practice transformation tracks:
Walk the customer talk
Everything starts with truly understanding customer needs. According to Brian Solis, Customer Experience expert, you should architect the ideal customer journey for your target persona’s. Develop your touchpoints around micro experiences that stick. Use storytelling to emphasize your company’s purpose (authenticity) and make it fast, easy, fun and simple (customer effort score). Think about online retailers who insert a personally relevant handwritten message into your ordered package.
Reinvent your core
It’s one thing to have an amazing marketing department which excels in designing winning experiences but putting these into practice is a business wide undertaking. That’s often the hardest part. As process experts, we still see most of our clients struggling with ensuring continuous customer value across all touchpoints. Common pitfalls are:
- Troubles aligning business and IT to the ideal customer journey; causing friction and bottlenecks between the client facing roles and the back office;
- Difficulties to create ‘channel less’ experiences;
- Mismatch between modern front-end interfaces and tools and obsolete back-office applications; causing waste along the journey and affecting overall user experience;
Get your data sorted out
In addition to aligning and optimizing your processes, you should get your data sorted out. You never had so much data. Think of your social media data, transactional data, process data and all other digital touchpoints… a gold mine of information. The challenge there is to find the right patterns between all data streams in order to turn data into actionable insights for your marketing and sales departments. Personification, which is often seen as the way to raise customer loyalty, can only be achieved with the right algorithms. This requires digital skills and customer understanding across all business departments. Because getting this wrong, mistakes in your attempts for personal messages and services, does more harm than good.
Reinvent the human part
Digital excellence supports convenience and user friendly transactions but brand loyalty requires emotional experiences which you can only achieve via human interactions. That’s why we believe your employees become key in today’s (post)-digital era. Your employees can help your brand and business on so many levels:
- Service delivery (correct product/process knowledge and customer centric attitude);
- Winning experiences (truly engaged and happy employees go the extra mile in delivery, showing passion, empathy and creativity);
- Free marketing or brand advocates (truly engaged and happy employees will create a positive buzz);
Your challenge is to engage them!