Marketers, here’s an uncomfortable question: when was the last time you actually interacted with a customer?
The term ‘customer experience’ has become the latest marketing buzzword (it fetches over 355 million results on Google, if you don’t believe me), but do we really listen to the voice of the customer, or has customer experience become just another PowerPoint platitude?
Nowadays, it’s tempting for many of us to rely heavily on anecdotes and insights generated by fellow marketers and “thought leaders”, but if we stop to ask the customer on the ground what customer experience means to them, most, if not all, won’t be able to define exactly what it is — but they sure know it when they see it.
Numbers Don’t Lie: Customer Experience Is The New Frontier
The role of customer experience can’t be overstated. Studies show that 86 percent of consumers who received a great customer experience were likely to repurchase from the same company. This is compared to just 13 percent of those who received a poor customer experience.
Furthermore, Deloitte estimates that 62 percent of companies view customer experience delivered by the contact centers as a competitive differentiator. And to drive this point home, Accenture calculated that, in the U.S alone, the approximate cost of customers switching due to poor customer experience is $1.6 Trillion. That’s trillion — with a ‘T’.
With all of that in mind, it’s no wonder Walker reports that, by the year 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as your brand’s key market differentiator.
So, without doubt, customer experience is the new frontier. But is your customer experience being orchestrated inside a bubble?
The Reality of the Customer Experience Bubble
Every impression your organization makes is important — no matter the channel or device. The bottom line is, if the customer’s experience is positive, your brand is viewed positively. It’s not rocket science.
But delivering those excellent experiences? That’s no mean feat.
Contrary to what you may have been told by MarTech vendors, delivering “memorable” customer experiences is hard. There is no silver bullet or MarTech platform that can completely manage all the expectations of today’s hyper-aware consumer, typically armed at all times with a smart device.
To add more confusion to the mix, more content isn’t always the answer, either, as 80 percent of content created by marketing goes unread and unused. Hence, truly great content needs to work in tandem with other promotional activities.
But the problem holding so many brands back is that their customer experience is exclusively owned by the marketing team. Or the sales team. Or some other siloed department. But the reality is, customer experience is far too important to be left to one siloed department.
The result of all this? Customer experience in a bubble.
Yet, I believe that customer experience orchestration is the ultimate team sport in today’s digital world.
Customer Experience Orchestration: The Ultimate Team Sport
In the field of customer experience, your entire team needs access to the playbook and best equipment. Customer experience must be championed and practiced internally if your team is to have any success in creating superlative customer experiences, period.
Marketing, Sales, Customer Success, IT and Support all have to work in coordination with each other in order for your organization as a whole to deliver experiences the customer expects and will remember.
It reminds me of a famous Michael Jordan quote: “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.”
Burst Your CX Bubble: A Five-Step Plan
Let’s take your customer service team as an illustrative example of a way to burst the bubble and unlock the true potential of your company’s customer experience:
1. Collect Voice of Customer Data
The voice of your customer is supremely important, so you need as much voice of the customer data as you can get your hands on. Notably, Gartner recently revealed data indicating that collecting customer feedback can increase upselling and cross-selling success rates by 15 percent to 20 percent.
Study the feedback you’re getting, focusing on the characteristics of your customer journey that consumers like and dislike. Hone in on those positive defining features and work iteratively on constant, continuous improvement of whatever seems to be driving customers away.
2. Personalize, Personalize, Personalize
Personalization needs to be at the engine that drives your customer experience, while it’s already known that content is the fuel of modern customer-centric marketing teams. After all, 64% consumers expect a personalized experience from brands.
52% of consumers are likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t make an effort to personalize communications to them.
With that in mind, your content — from website copy to blog posts — needs to be tailored to engage and delight each of your target personas. In due course, you’ll want to personalize at a deeper level, using even more data-driven segmentation.
To achieve such hyper-personalized content at each and every touchpoint, carefully consider the day-to-day interactions customers have with your organization, the problems their facing, and how your content can bring value to their situations.Get this right across channels, and you can leverage brand loyalty overwhelmingly to your advantage.
3. Strike The Balance Between Value and Selling
Another significant building block of your customer experience strategy should be balance between promoting your services and value-centric content.
Balancing between these two doesn’t necessarily mean a 50-50 split, though. In fact, it’s advisable to focus on delivering relevant value to your customers and prospects far more than you offer them sales pitches.
4. Focus on Loyalty
Remember right off the bat that getting loyal customers to return to your brand is more cost-effective than exclusively trying to acquire new customers.
When your company evokes a sense of loyalty from a customer, your organization is exerting a soft influence on an emotional level. This customer equates your brand with the standards and quality they desire: their expectations are met by you.
5. Anticipate Consumer Demands
Half of consumers are likely to switch brands if a company doesn’t anticipate their needs, and without stating the obvious, those needs are increasingly becoming rooted in mobile and IoT devices.
Thus, ensuring your brand’s customer experience is optimally suited for sheer consumer convenience across mobile and connected devices is crucial. And no, that doesn’t mean your content should be ‘responsive’. In 2018 and beyond, you need a platform capable of storing, managing and delivering your content headlessly, truly future-proofing it again the emergence of any device.
Burst Your CX Bubble ASAP
The danger of an unsustainable “CX Bubble” is real, so go ahead and dismiss that danger at your own risk.
Getting multiple departments to collaborate on your customer experience orchestration strategy takes time and resources, but the long-term benefits will pay off. Think seriously about what your entire team needs to improve on, what content needs to be created and how it can be personalized. But most importantly, talk to your customers regularly, ask them what they need on the ground, and then work hard to give it to them. It’s not hard, it’s just that — all this time — you’ve been trying to play a team sport all by yourself.