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Tag Archive for customer experience

How to Develop your Digital Customer Experience

digitally connected customer

In today’s crowded marketplace, brands are finding it more difficult to differentiate themselves from one another. When you have multiple brands in multiple industries offering the same products you do, you need to give customers a reason to choose you over them. Many brands today are working to find that differentiation in customer experience. In fact, experts believe that by 2020, customer experience will be even more important than price or product quality in differentiating one brand from another.
Companies need a digital customer experience strategy to ensure that they build the right experiences to suit their customers’ needs and expectations. It’s important that your strategy supports business objectives, accurately reflects your brand, and aids in prioritizing which customer goals to support and how to support them.


Organizations that aspire to differentiate based on digital customer experience need a clear, cohesive execution strategy. Customer experience professionals have the expertise required to create experiences that deliver value to customers and the business and should take the lead in developing a digital customer experience strategy for their firm. To start:


• Define your business and brand objectives. Your company’s mission and value statements should guide all activities and investments. A customer experience strategy that defines what the role of digital interaction points will be — and will not be — must be built on the foundation of the company’s overall business objectives and brand attributes.


• Identify and seek understanding of your target users. A digital customer experience strategy must define how the company will deliver experiences to its target customers through digital touchpoints. Therefore, a digital customer experience strategy must include a deep qualitative understanding of the audience members’ key goals, how they accomplish those goals, and their expectations of the brand.


• Prioritize and fund critical touchpoints. The world’s largest organizations market and sell to many customer segments, but an experience designed to serve the needs of all segments in the same way will not work. A customer experience strategy prioritizes the most important channels for delivering on customer goals, keeping focus on the activities that provide the highest value to the most valuable customers, the most important business objectives, and the brand.

How Can Digital Experience Management Help Your Business?
The digital experience used to revolve around strategic posts on Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn. But today’s companies are dealing with far more digital reach…managing email communication, website landing sites, checkout experiences, inventory, ad placement, and more. And all of it has to work together. Digital Experience Management (DXM) can manage it all.
In short, DXM helps customers “shop” rather than simply “buy.” It makes the entire shopping experience more memorable for them—and helps you know what’s working (or not) at the same time.


According to Dushyant Mohanty, Global Transformation Head – Industry Unit, Industrial Manufacturing, Energy, Banking & Financial Services, at Tata Consultancy Services, that means moving from being product-centric to being customer-centric. When creating a customer experience journey, companies should put themselves in the shoes of their customers to see if they are getting a solution that meets their needs, or if the company’s offerings are outdated.
In a digital transformation, the customer experience needs to be customized and in real time. That means adjusting as needed and using the correct customer persona. Mohanty points out that a digital strategy is more than just updating a few processes. For many companies, it’s a complete overhaul of their approach to service and customer experience. To make a real change, executives need to take a step back and look at things objectively to see if they are reaching customers and achieving their goals. The underlying technology structure has a huge impact on customer experience, as does the data strategy. Start with these as a foundation to customer experience.


In the end, it really comes down to having a growth mindset. Companies that can embrace digital transformation for customer experience are the ones that don’t simply do what’s always been done but instead look for new solutions to meet customers’ needs. Businesses need to always be evaluating their approach to customer experience to stay on top of new trends and technologies. A digital transformation can help companies become more customer-centric to guide their customers through the changing digital world.

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Innovative Ways to Bring Excitement Back to the Customer Experience

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Excited and engaged customers bring in 23% more profits. Yes, you read that right! 23% more profits! However, with advancing technology and decreasing face-to-face encounters, companies are having to find new ways to get customers excited.

Positive experiences lead to increasing connections. And the more positive experiences a customer has the more loyal they become to your brand. By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator. So why do only 58% percent of businesses have a formal engagement program? Companies must adopt a customer engagement strategy or get left behind.

Here are some innovative ways business leaders can excite their customers in this impersonal, digital age:

1. Survey customers to better understand them.

It sounds simple enough, but yet most businesses do not implement effective surveys. What’s the best way to learn what excites customers? Ask them.
Surveys can be useful if companies use proper analytics to interpret data and implement necessary changes. Get creative! Put a quick poll on social media or after an order. Ask a couple of questions when following up with customers. You can also casually poll customers during checkout at a retail location. Use this data to make better decisions and help employees to better understand the target audience.

2. Use personalization.

 

80% of people say that brands are not tailored to their needs. In a world where brands like Netflix and Amazon are doubling down on personalization, smaller brands must also commit to this growing trend. Amazon’s Alexa is designed to “get to know the customer.” The more “she” learns, the easier it is for consumers to buy products. Again, understanding your customer and catering to their needs is a surefire way to gain repeat buyers.

Customer Experience

3. Focus on creating added value.

 

The heart of brand loyalty is always value. Value is not about giving away free things or being the cheapest product. Instead, it is about giving customers what they want.
Take PNC bank for example:
Marianne Hynd, VP of Operations at Ann Michaels & Associates and mom of 3, is always in need of single bills for her kids lunch money. Since ATM machines typically like to dispense $10 and $20 bills, Marianne usually has to stop somewhere to make a small purchase in order to get singles. A couple years ago PNC bank started allowing ATM withdrawals in multiples of $1. While this was a welcome change, Marianne says “I still had to make three separate transactions. But I was okay with it at the time.”

“However, I went to the ATM the other day and started going through the process and after choosing the amount for the withdrawal I saw three game changing words…Choose your bills. PNC now allows customers to choose which denominations they’d like for their withdrawals. Now this is such a small change but I can’t tell you how happy it made me. What it did for me as a consumer was it took one more step out of the process and it made my weekly trip a little bit quicker. I’ve been a customer of PNC for many years and it’s little changes like that that will keep me a customer for many years to come.”

4. Share behind-the-scenes content.

 

Taking customers behind the scenes humanizes companies. This can be as simple as sharing employee stories on social media or doing a personal one-on-one interview with a company executive.

Disney offers “Behind the Scenes” tours to guests to engage customers in the “magic” of Disney. These tours present an unseen side of the company, demonstrating how Disney is changing the world through agriculture research or by valuing minority causes. The tours reinforce the Disney brand while providing visitors with a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

5. Try something new.

 

According to a study cited by NBC, pumpkin spice in the fall has been shown to evoke positive memories of childhood. Perhaps this is one reason why Starbucks found incredible success when they launched their pumpkin spice latte in 2003. In fact, the company could barely keep up with demand in the early days.

Be willing to try new things. Starbucks took a calculated risk in introducing the pumpkin spice latte, and it paid off spectacularly. Similarly, business leaders must ensure that their organizations are daring enough to try new things.

There are a variety of ways for business leaders to develop excitement and engagement in consumers. However, the common component is always putting the customer first. Once the customer is the primary focus for you and you understand what matters most to them, it will be easier to develop innovative approaches to creating customer excitement.

 

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The Human Side of the Customer Experience

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In today’s digital world, people are spending more time online as screens become larger, web connections faster, and more people own smartphones. With so many online businesses vying for a customer’s attention, brands need to focus more than ever on making meaningful connections to stand out. Companies that singularly focus on digital tools but do not invest in the customer experience can expect to fall behind.
Forrester Research studies around the Customer Experience Interest shows that making customers feel valued and respected is the number one factor leading to customer loyalty. In the digital realm, that means you remember their names, preferences, and purchase history, and you go the extra mile to offer them something that is relevant and of value. Consumers want to spend their money with companies that demonstrate that they understand and attend to each customer’s individual needs and truly value who they are. We like to call this “humanizing” the customer experience.
Humanizing the Digital Customer Experience
The key to “humanizing the customer experience” is authenticity, and creating a true people-focused core in which all interactions are individual. Adding the human element means focusing on long-term relationships and on true partnerships with customers. Companies need to shift their thinking, and replace the immediate sales goals of the past with proactive interactions that align with the goals that customers have for themselves.

Here are 4 ways you can help your company humanize the customer experience.

1. Listen to your Customers: 
Do all of your customers have the same wants and needs? Do they have the same income, product affinities and communication preferences? Definitely not. According to the customer experience survey, 63% of consumers who would otherwise not want to share personal information are willing to share these details —if they’re dealing with a brand that has given them a good experience. Retailers have to listen with intention, gather feedback and data, analyze it and then incorporate it into a customer experience strategy.
Slack, a popular collaboration and project management tool, retains 6 million-plus daily users. “Our focus is on making Slack a great experience for individuals — our internal advocates, our ambassadors — since they are the ones who often start using the product, then share it with their teams,” says Ali Rayl, Slack VP of Customer Experience. “We respect our users’ opinions; we listen to their feedback and in turn they help shape the product.” Rayl says that incorporating feedback helped propel Slack’s growth. As the company began working with larger organizations, listening to these customers helped Slack leaders realize they needed to offer a custom product, and they were able to build that into their experience, cementing loyalty.
A company that listens to its customers will aim relevant and tailored messages to the individual customer.

2. Get the Basics: Right
Retail basics can prove to be monumental. The fundamentals of a positive retail experience — speed, convenience, consistency and friendliness — are challenging to get right. Touting a shiny new piece of technology or virtual reality dressing rooms is meaningless if a company isn’t getting the basics like delivery, payment and sourcing right.

Nearly 1/4 of early digital adopters — who represent 20% of consumers today — expect same-day delivery of goods. This same group also expects to pay via mobile payment in stores. Analysts estimate that mobile payment will surge more than 16-fold between 2012 and 2020 as consumers adapt to this prevalent technology. Apps that offer mobile payment can boost loyalty and customer spending.

 

3. Become AI-Driven
:Incorporating AI into your customer experience process allows you to have a deeper knowledge of each individual customer that continues to get smarter over time. Feedback from every customer interaction should be fed back into the customer profile. You need a closed-feedback loop to continuously learn from every interaction, which allows you to become smarter about your customers, their needs and their behavior.
Example: You register for a marathon using your credit card. Your bank may provide you with offers from an athletic clothing partner based on knowledge from that registration transaction. Although you’ve never purchased sports clothes from this brand, an AI-driven brand will have some very specific, targeted recommendations for the best apparel you need for the marathon. Offers are made based on your own credit card transaction history but can also take into account what other customers like you have purchased. Your response to the company’s offer will be fed back to optimize the future customer experience.

4. Real-Time Action
: A clear advantage to enhancing customer experience is to act on AI knowledge and feedback in real-time. Every interaction – whether next best offer, alerts etc. – needs to be delivered in a timely manner to ensure impact and results. Customers expect a personalized relationship with your brand and becoming AI-driven not only makes you continuously smarter, it uses the individual customer context to automate many processes. This is important because it means you are instantly ready to respond to and anticipate a customer’s next step.
Let’s revisit the financial industry example: You just called your credit card company’s customer service department due to an unusual charge, and the agent tells you the issue would be resolved within the hour. Ideally, if you were to check the credit card app on your phone, you would be alerted that the issue was resolved. You shouldn’t have to call back the customer service agent for an update. This proves that every customer interaction with the credit card company is tracked in real-time, and the conversation continues with relevancy no matter which touchpoint you engage.
Conclusion
Humanizing the customer experience means connecting with your customer on their multi-device, multi-channel journey, in the digital and physical world and providing a seamless and continuous experience. It’s having an individual-level understanding of every customer, and putting those insights into action. Finding the “sweet spot”, where technology complements the human element of customer experience without creating new frustrations, is how retailers will win loyalty.

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