Customer experience is one of the most used keywords to define what is happening to business in recent years. Today, the DCX is clearly a priority, but you need to understand how to invest in it to prevent it has not a real impact on your strategy.
What are the top priorities when you start investing in the creation of the best possible experience? Tricky question, especially if your objective is to deliver relevant, personalized experiences. One hint? Start with improving the relationship.
Over the last two years, we have repeatedly referred to a series of statistics by Gartner, still valid today: 89 percent of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience, that will eventually overtake price and product as the primary pillar of differentiation between Brands.
By 2018, more than 50 percent of organizations will redirect their investments to customer experience innovations. Where should you start? One thing is sure: doing things the way you have always done them or relying on old marketing practices will not solve a completely new set of problems.
From the very first day Internet entered our houses and smartphone took its place in our hands, the experience has become “the experiences”. Digital technologies multiply the points of contact between a brand and a customer and disrupt the concepts of space and time when it comes to the buying process.
The DCX is the result of all interactions a customer has with your organization and its products or services over a specific period of time. The entirety of these different experiences defines the overall relationship, in terms of intensity, relevance, and duration.
When it comes to planning new investments, the focus is usually on the inside: policies, restrictions, roles, and everything that could put the sticks between the wheels. This is important to highlight some key relationships (i.e. with investors, employees, partners).
We know, however, that - in order to be successful - a marketing strategy must start with the customers, their journeys, and touchpoints. The ability to step into your customer's shoes and adopt a holistic approach to the experience strategy is essential to overcome the limitations of siloed departments.
Yet despite all the customer-centric statements and the alleged obsession for customers, few companies actually have a long-term vision that aligns the planning and management of the experience with a business strategy that connects the various departments into a coherent unity.
In a recent report, Altimeter unveiled this discrepancy between what the Brands think they are doing and what is ultimately perceived by the customer:
“Experience is thus not about unicorns, rainbows, or soft fuzzy ideas. Instead, it is about a shared value proposition with customers that aligns to your business. (..) Experience is the mechanism through which your business strategy and brand value proposition are activated with customers.”
A successful and relevant experience can happen only “when customer experience strategy focuses on and is measured by the strength and nature of the customer relationship. (...) In the end, you can only satisfy people if you deliver what it is that they want, at the time they want it, understanding what is relevant to them at that particular time and place.”
In digital markets, the most precious resource is time. The smartphone enables new behaviors and unlocks access to a persistent source of information. “That little device is enabling new ways of doing and learning things. It is helping us discover new ideas and new businesses. It is helping us manage our to-dos, tackle our problems, and inspire our plans.” (Google)
Anything can happen anytime, anywhere, and the Micro Moments have become the new battleground. Be There - Be Useful - Be Quick: this is the karma for the new era of customer relationships. If you do not show up, you lose. If you do not deliver contents relevant to the context, you lose. If you are slow and reject the changes, you are wasting resources.
So, now that you are all set and ready to invest in the future of your business, what are the areas you should focus on? We see a few priorities that define the quality of your next generation experience strategy.
Customer experience defines the success of your organization. To build relationships that are relevant and drive sales, you must understand customers and connect with them on a personal basis. Understanding is the first step of the new marketing funnel, the ground where you build engagement and ongoing customer loyalty.
Today, there is no content without context. And the context implies not only the location or the devices used but also - and especially - the behavioral and emotional peculiarities of each customer. The psychographic profile will tell you everything you need to know to tailor experiences to the emotional preferences of your customers.
To develop a strategy you always start by understanding where you and your customers already are. Digital technologies generate an enormous amount of data that you can use to extract relevant insights about your Brand and how you preside the touch points of the customer journey.
The Big Data, however, can be overwhelming. They are often too abstract and unrelated to the context. The relations in data are more important than the data itself, so you should adopt a ‘Small Data’ approach and leverage on technologies (i.e. machine learning) to predict the evolution of markets and the results of your investments.
The demand for faster responses generates the need for automation. The spread of smart connected machines makes it possible to automate every aspect of your organization, from the internal and productive processes to the relationship with stakeholders, employees, and customers.
The Internet of Things, fueled by the advancements in the Artificial Intelligence, creates a network of smart objects that can communicate without the human intervention. The future of manufacturing (Industry 4.0) and retail lies in the automation, and so does customer support (just think about chatbots, conversational interfaces, and the New Voice of Customer).
Now it is your turn. What are your top priorities? What are the pillars of your customer experience strategy?
Photos byTodd Diemer and Denys Nevozhai on Unsplash
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