Steve Wozniak once said that “wherever smart people work, doors are unlocked.” We can also say that wherever smart tools are at work, successful strategies are easily unlocked. In a world that changes constantly, you must understand that what you have done till now will not help you to attract and engage customers in future.
Managing the experience has never been easy, even before the arrival of mobile technology. The evolution towards digital, that will hasten in 2016, may make it look like a daunting task, but it is not. You just need a few smart things to improve customer experience for the years to come.
‘Smart’ is the keyword to survive and evolve in competitive environments. Technology has acted as the main driver to give birth to a new generation of customers. The digital customer is smart, empowered, demanding, but also high spending and willing to try new things. This is exactly how your company should be too.
The days are numbered for age-old marketing: customers move at a fast pace, they want to be heard and expect that you are able to provide them with what they want, when they want it. This translates into the ability to reach your customers with valuable contents, on any device and when it matters most. In one word, a meaningful digital customer experience.
If you do not follow the prescriptions to deliver an amazing experience, you inevitably expose your brand to a huge risk, a risk called irrelevance. Today’s brand identity, in fact, is driven by two main forces:
- Wider fierce competition - Your brand competes against the whole world, and that means that customers can choose from a widening set of suppliers. Why would they choose you? Prices are dropping and quality is taken for granted. They can’t be considered key business differentiators anymore, and they are replaced by the experience itself.
- Social connected communities - Not so long ago, purchase decisions were heavily influenced by the power of traditional marketing techniques (advertising, to name one) and the opinion of a small circle of relatives and friends. Today, digital customers mostly rely on their social communities, online reviews and the opinion of a wide circle of strangers.
As a consequence of both forces, customers are now more informed than ever. They use their smartphone to research for product information, before and even during the purchase. They trust what they see on the Internet because it comes from other customers (bottom-up) and it is not controlled by companies (top-down).
Also, they are not shy when it comes to promote great experiences or complain about bad customer experience. Mobile technology and social networks have given customers platforms to let the entire world know their desires and complaints in real time.
The way to customer engagement and brand relevance is long and hard, and you will never get there if you do not preside over these elements. Statistics leave no doubt:
- It will take twelve positive experiences to make up for one poor one;
- A customer will avoid your brand for two years after a bad experience;
- Half of the customers will share with friends and family a negative experience.
“Digital has highlighted a primary shift that people want business to make. To become more relevant, personal, useful and thoughtful. To design products and experiences that are actually useful and exciting.” (Mike Saunders)
Businesses have no choice but to respond to the challenge and face that digital transformation that is changing customer behaviors and marketing logics forever. You need to redesign your experiences with customers in mind; you need to find a balance between the physical and digital worlds; you need to learn new ways to create genuine engagement when and where it matters most (for customers).
Emerging technologies - mobile apps, smartwatches, beacons, the Internet of Things - have a deep impact on the connection between brand and customer. This new world brings unexpected new questions and new solutions to old problems. To answer properly, you must learn to watch from a different perspective, your customer’s perspective. You must be smart and use smart tools.
The traditional customer journey map has been used by marketers for decades. Then, all of a sudden, it has become inadequate to understand the experience of digital customers. Because of the mobile mind shift - and the emergence of micro moments - we need to redefine the map, starting from client’s POV. The new customer journey has the same foundational elements, but it takes into account the multiple channels and touchpoints that customers go through when they connect with a brand, online and offline, across any devices. Its framework is liquid and in constant motion, and that makes it smart.
The best way to engage with customers and foster their loyalty is to provide content that is unique and useful. This is a constant valid throughout the entire history of marketing. What has changed, with the emergence of social networks and connected devices, is the importance of context. Today, delivery is as important as the content itself. What makes a specific content relevant for customers is where and how you deliver it. To be smart, content marketing must reach customers when they need it (in terms of location and moments of truth) and where they need it (in terms of channels and communities).
If digital customers are so hard to define and reduce to patterns, how can you understand what they want and where you can create the best connection with them? The answer lies in data. Numbers, reports, statistics have always been food for marketers, and now they have more data than ever, thanks to the smartphone and connected objects. If the scarcity is a problem, the abundance is no less. The only way to extract insights from mud is to connect the different sources and use tools that transform average data into smart data.
These are only three - although probably the most important - things you will have to consider if you aim at delivering a memorable digital customer experience. Smart businesses, just like smart people, never stop to listen, learn and adapt.
If you need more insights on how to improve your strategy in the next years, take a look also at the 4 Mobile Marketing Trends For 2016 Digital Customer Experience.
To help you provide a strategic advantage to your organization, Neosperience has crafted the first DCX 7-Steps Checklist, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. Download the free guide here: