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Companies today understand that they are in the customer experience business. When dealing with customers, they must keep in mind that as situations change, so do the customers’ expectations. In today’s times, brands don’t want to lose the opportunity to go beyond customer’s expectations, any opportunity to deliver a tiny bit more than the customer’s expectations will foster engagement and delight. Leveraging how customer’s think during their journey with your brand and how they react to what happens to them along the way will lead to more opportunities. The best form of customer experience is when a consumer is provided with a solution before they express a problem or realize they have a problem. It is not just about touchpoints anymore, it is about the entire journey.
Identifying and understanding the customer journey:
Many companies focus on measuring individual touchpoints such as fine-tuning a paid campaign or redesigning the website, however, customers think differently. For them, the end goal is what matters across the entire journey. It simply means focusing on the progression of touchpoints from the beginning till the end. Every company has customer segments that are of high economic value, understanding these segments step by step helps with the process of redesigning functions around consumer needs. Because there are many teams involved, defining a clear customer experience vision throughout the organization will help employees execute well on individual touchpoints interactions. Brands that pay attention to customer experiences through end-to-end experiences end up offering great customer experience.
But how do you deliver a great customer experience? Here are four must-have customer experience components that brands need to keep in mind:
- Social Listening
The major portion of customer engagement is through digital platforms since customers reach out to companies through social media channels. Understanding that conversions and feedback happens through a company’s digital presence is only a prerequisite. Companies need to have a systematic process of monitoring and collecting user feedback., By setting up a listening process through robust social listening tools can help brands adapt to customer’s needs as and when their preferences change.
Not every company has the resources to answer quickly or be available 24X7, however, today’s tools have many features that can streamline your customer service. For example, setting up automated responses on your digital platforms provides acknowledgment and gives the user confidence that you will get back to them. Social listening tools not just offer a platform for real-time listening, but also provide customer insights that can help categorize and escalate customer issues.
Customers vocalize their grievances on social channels because they are present on most of them. They are used to moving between these channels. It is difficult to figure where the customer will go next, which is why brands need to be present on the platforms where customers are to be ready to receive and service them, also known as omnichanneling. Customer experience management is about a holistic view as opposed to touchpoint oriented optimization. For example, integrating your online channels so that once users sign up on one platform, they don’t have to go through the procedure again on the others. This integration makes customers view your brand positively.
If your employees have to go through multiple systems to assist your customer, then it’s killing your brand’s customer experience. For your company to have in depth knowledge of customers, a good CRM tool is imperative. CRM tools can give you important insights on your customers and quite vast, which you can divide amongst your team based on the type of data. For example, data such as choice of communication channel, new or existing user, and devices used can be handed to one team and content likes, product interests, user behaviour can be handed to another. With the right CRM tools, your teams can spend quality time on studying customer data and work towards improving the customer experience.
Companies from all industries have started offering tailored products and services. By implementing advanced technologies like artificial intelligence, big data and machine learning, they are able to study their users and recommend services that suit them. By creating awareness of their brand, and appealing to their customers, companies will be able to be present on platforms most suitable to communicate with their customers and suggest products and services in line with their expectations. For example, if a customer frequently visits an e-commerce website but leaves the website before checking out, can be sent a personalized email newsletter that shows a comparison of the products she was viewing.
Closing the loop
In order to transform a customer journey, companies need to balance digital and human interventions. As per a study by SuperOffice, the top three reasons why businesses today are investing in customer experience is to:
- Improve cross-selling and up-selling
- Improve customer retention
- Improve customer satisfaction
By integrating the right tools and applications, companies can determine their customer’s needs basis behavioral, geographical, demographical data to name a few. This data can be divided and sub-divided based on relevancy and shared with different departments to collaborate and take action. Access to advanced data is no longer a privilege, there are several technologies that provide in-depth analysis.
Building a world-class customer centric culture is not an overnight process. Customer experience needs patience and commitment, companies that have collected data over a number of years spend a lot of time altering, refining, testing and analyzing it consistently to provide a seamless customer experience. Customer experience management looks at customers as people, not just leads or subscribers, if we pay attention to the little details, we will only get one step closer to exceeding customer expectations. As Gartner describes it, “Customer experience management (CEM) is the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed their expectations, leading to greater customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.”
Gurmeet Oberoi is a researcher and writer of change tactics and technologies in travel and other verticals, she frequently posts across the digital ecosystem. With 9-yrs of experience in communications and marketing, Gurmeet has a passion for travel and reading among other things. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org