A 2016 survey by Spigit found that 75% of the respondents have improvement of customer experience (CX) their top objective as a company. CX was also the most pressing matter for marketers in 2014, and it’s expected that by 2020, it will take over price and product as key differentiators. But why are companies looking at CX this way?
Why CX Matters
Customer experience starts with a business’s branding activity and encompasses the entirety of the buyer’s journey and beyond. It is the impression and perception you leave your customer, including how they think of your brand at every stage of their journey. This means that multiple touchpoints factor into CX, happening on a cross-functional basis.
However, customer perception isn’t permanent and can change with every interaction. Someone can have a good experience selecting the product they want because the information available is enough. But, if after-sales is lacking (i.e., customer support agents are unsympathetic or technical support is slow), then the CX still cannot be considered a good one.
Neglecting specific steps in the customer’s journey and not making customer perception a responsibility for everyone in the organization are just some of the worst mistakes you can make when it comes to CX.
It is essential to take the time to and make sure that the customer journey is strong to yield good CX because their satisfaction is a testimonial for other prospects. They will likely continue doing business with you, and even bring along their friends and family. Satisfied customers are the best brand advocates, helping you drive purchase decisions.
How Has CX Changed?
In the past, CX is determined by the brand itself through their communication efforts. May it be flyers, calls, voicemails, and emails, all the information that the consumers needed were provided to them. However, there was a lack of third-party insights.
Nowadays, with the help of technology, CX is made personalized, with contextualized interactions depending on the time and place. Customers now have the freedom and capability to inform themselves through websites and peer reviews. As a result, they interact with the brand in whatever way they want.
Technology offered customer more options, ease of switching power, and the ability to influence the business. In that way, CX is expected to be seamless and cohesive.
What Needs to be Addressed?
CX may be an aspect that needs to be taken care of to boost revenue. But, it’s not surprising to know that there are still specific areas that need to be worked on or improved to benefit the customer more (which, in turn, can also be an advantage to your business).
Digital Minimalism in Marketing
CX involves monitoring consumer behavior not just to determine their purchasing activities but also to learn the trends to keep brand messaging relevant. One such pattern that has emerged is minimalism. It may only be apparent to some in terms of art and design, but this concept has affected CX, as well.
Minimalism had customers simplifying their lives, and in the words of author Cal Newport, “is motivated by the belief that clearing away the low-value digital noise and optimizing the tools that matter can significantly improve life.” That means presenting your message as clearly as possible and utilizing as few channels as possible to make it more appealing.
When it comes to CX, people care more about the right content on their preferred channel. The danger of having a multi-channel approach, according to Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute, is oversaturation—that marketers have “become infatuated with the tools and less concerned about what is inside them.”
Adapting to the cultural shift of the customer sometimes means taking a more scaled back approach. This can be done through the following:
- evaluating your channels to filter out which does not work or does not matter to your customers;
- simplifying and sticking with what works among the brand’s vast digital presence;
- editing your landing pages to remove complexity by focusing on the unique value propositions and directing to the CTA right away; and
- giving every element of your content a purpose to make its aesthetic cleaner.
Delivering an Authentic Experience Through Branding
Big data has allowed companies to learn so much about customers, giving way for personalized marketing messaging through dynamic buyer personas. But, there should also be a focus on a brand persona—why does the company exist, what are its goals, what role does it have in society, and how does it impact its customers?
The answers to these questions should be addressed explicitly in your brand’s voice for a more purposeful CX. It should reflect on the tone of your voice, words chosen, and focus on content, as well as how you react to the customer, business, and social challenges.
Branding differentiates your business so that customers can identify you amidst the digital noise.
Allotting your Resources to Quality Content
Once you’ve discovered which content to focus on, you are no longer paying for the others that are not making an impact. You are allotting the budget to what’s relevant to your audience, thus putting CX in mind.
If you’ve found videos highly favorable for your brand, instead of oversaturating your social media accounts with 20 mediocre videos a month to keep them active, you can make 2 or 3 high-quality videos that can go viral.
Quality not only differentiates your content and your brand, but it also draws your audience into entering a brand-customer relationship that you want, and ultimately, provide a more pleasant experience.
Saving Time Through Personalization
As established, customers don’t like ingesting irrelevant information. It’s not only an unpleasant experience, but it also eats up precious time. This makes personalization all the more critical—it cuts through the triviality to get to the point.
Personalization may be an integral part of CX, but some companies fail in executing it. Some of the reasons why it’s not made a priority are the available resources (or lack thereof) and the absence of a plan for it.
With augmented reality (AR) and machine learning, hyper-personalization of everything is now possible. This is because technology has helped companies leverage the deep understanding of customer data to anticipate their needs.
Managing Expectations with AR
Putting up a physical store has perhaps become an afterthought for some brands, but when it comes to services, online isn’t the same as the real thing (maybe it never will be). AR addresses this need, which is commonly used by stores, so customers can virtually shop and still try the items they find interesting.
An example of this is cosmetic retail shop Sephora, which has allowed their visitors to try on some of the products like lipsticks and blushes through AR. It’s a way to sample the product before making a purchase, thus giving a realistic idea of what the customer can expect, all while helping them make a better purchasing decision.
There is still more awareness needed about CX, but companies are making progress into making the customer’s journey as smooth and seamless as possible. While improvements have so far been technologically driven, it is important to note that culture is still essential, because it’s what drives companies to make CX better.
New technology may be making things more convenient, but that alone will not give customers the best experience. Paying attention to their needs is still what matters, so analyze your brand and see if you are something that would be useful and important to the consumers.