The 7 Deadly Sins of a Bad Customer Experience
Easter is near. It’s time to review all you have done in the past months, to understand if you’re close to your goals and what went wrong during the journey. We all know that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. We’re talking about digital customer experience, of course. Let’s get spiritual, then, and see the 7 deadly sins of a bad customer experience. Have you committed an unpardonable sin?
Deadly sins are not just like all other errors. Commit them and it will be dramatically hard to recover. Metaphors aside, customer experience management is a science governed by laws that you can only ignore at your peril. Do it and you will soon pay the price. One number says it all: 89% of customers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing a poor experience (Salesforce).
This is even more true in the so-called Age of the Customer, where your brand image is shaped not just by the quality of what you produce or sell, but also – and above all – by the ability to build a compelling experience for your customers. Your digital marketing efforts, therefore, should aim at involving your clients across all channels of the journey map, taking advantage of new technologies to create a profitable connection between you and them.
While the sins of a bad customer experience may not be as detrimental as the original deadly sins, they could be likewise costly. They can make you the first choice in customer’s mind and decide if you can still keep the pace with digital transformation. Engagement, loyalty and repeat sales: they all depend on whether you can avoid – or fix – the following deadly sins.
NO CUSTOMER-CENTRIC VISION
The digital disruption has caused an evolution from passive consumers to demanding and informed customers. In the Age of the Customer, the experience is considered at least as important as the product or the brand itself. “Everything starts with the customer”, to say it with the alleged words of Louis XIV.
The secret of a real customer-centric company lies in the ability to adopt a proactive approach and predict how clients’ needs and desires will change as a result of technological innovation. Success only comes when customers become the core of your strategy.
NO OMNI-CHANNEL STRATEGY
Customers, involved in a mobile ecosystem, experience brands and products across different touch points, online and offline. In their purchase process they value the word-of-mouth but look for information on their devices (smartphone, tablet and soon smartwatch).
As a result, they don’t live into one channel alone, and expect that you are able to engage them wherever they are, whenever they need it, whatever point of contact they are using. Thus, customer journey mapping becomes critical to understand in which ways people interact with brands and how to connect with them efficiently.
NO MOBILE-FIRST PRESENCE
Long gone are the days when mobile was ‘just’ a new way of communication, with no marketing purpose. The mobile disruption is rebooting the purchase process and – consequently – marketing and sales funnels. The smartphone is now the first reference for product and service information: if your brand is not mobile-savvy, more than likely it won’t be considered among their top choices.
Not being mobile is like not being at all. Still, too many companies fail to evolve with the times, while costumers run towards the future to become more and more empowered. The digital transformation requires that a mobile-first (if not mobile-only) attitude is the standard: a modus operandi, not a goal.
NO EMPLOYEE COMMITMENT
According to recent studies, today companies spend over 720 million dollars each year on employee engagement programs. This figure is destined to rise to over $1.5 billion in the next few years (Bersin & Associates), yet actual engagement falls down to a mere 13% (Gallup).
Digital leaders understand the importance of involving employees into their strategies because “the entire service-profit chain begins with, and absolutely depends on, engaged employees” (Brian Solis). The real ‘inner sin’ occurs when: there are no shared vision and objectives; you still rely on a top down execution; you fail to deliver core values into an amazing customer experience.
NO PROACTIVE APPROACH
The emergence of powerful devices (virtual reality and iBeacon, to name two) forces all businesses to adopt different approaches to overcome the challenge of innovation. At the same time, brands can profit from the astonishing amount of data produced by technology and behaviors. Data about markets, competitors and – most of all – customers. A shapeless mass that they must learn to scan and transform into useful insights.
Once you know how to deal with the big data phenomenon, you will unlock the huge opportunities of a proactive approach to customer experience. Being proactive, you will be able to control the situation – acting rather than reacting -, to understand customers’ needs, and to anticipate their questions and doubts before they even happen.
NO LOYALTY STRATEGY
Single sales by new clients or repeat sales by devoted customers: What do you value the most? Far from saying that acquisition is not important, statistics prove that customer retention is way more crucial to succeed in the long term. One for all: the probability of selling to an existing client lies between 60 and 70%, but the probability of selling to a new customer is no more than 20%.
If the acquisition costs on average 6 times more than retention, it’s easy to see why more and more brands are investing time and budgets in loyalty-focused programs and gamification mechanics. When customers can choose from thousands suppliers from all over the world, you must conquer their heart and mind to an enduring success.
NO LISTENING METHOD
Last but not least, a method sin: too many companies still assume that their relationship with customers is a top-down one-way communication. They think that customer service is separated from all other business functions and that they are in charge of the brand image. This may have been true in the pre-Internet era, but today things are completely different.
Your top priority, on the contrary, should be to listen and understand what customers think and want. Remember: they know you better than you do. Social media and real-time messaging make the perfect tool to foster the necessary two-ways communication and inside-out dynamics.
And yes, probably there are more than just 7 deadly sins for digital customer experience, but we think these are the most harmful for your marketing strategy health. It’s not too late, though, to regret and make amend: abandon the wrong way and you will finally offer a better experience.
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The improvement of customer experience management is the reason why we crafted the DCX 7-Steps Checklist, a useful guide with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. You can download the free paper here: