With a global crisis forcing many companies to close or operate at reduced capacity, it may be surprising to learn that consumers expect service to remain unchanged. It is apparent people want to feel seen, recognized, and appreciated by the companies they choose to support.
One of the most influential areas of marketing is designing customer relationship strategies. Many companies spend their energy attracting and capturing leads — which is very important, but what happens next? Customer experience plays a crucial role in transforming customers into loyal fans or even evangelists. This is undoubtedly one of the biggest challenges for a brand as mapping and improving customer experience requires detailed planning and team commitment. It is not easy, but it is a long-term investment that is worthwhile.
But after all, what is Customer Experience (CX)?
Customer experience is a perception of how your company treats a customer. These perceptions directly affect behaviours, help to create memories, and encourage emotion that can eventually contribute to loyalty. If customers enjoy your brand and like the way your team treats them, they negotiate with you for a long time and recommend it to others.
Analyzing and optimizing the consumer experience should be a priority for any company, be it selling products or providing services. While the customer experience (CX) examines all the touchpoints that the customer has with a brand, the customer experience strategy takes a different path by defining action plans for execution to offer a positive and meaningful experience.
“The term ‘customer experience’ will not exist in the organization of the future. It will be so deeply ingrained in a company’s product, process and culture that it will be synonymous with the brand and represent the only way of doing business.” – Ann Lewnes, EVP and CMO from Adobe
As the world is becoming more digitally connected, consumers expect businesses to provide a reliable service strategy on digital platforms. We have collected a few key points below that are vital to the success of the Digital Customer Experience (DX).
According to a study conducted in the US and published by eMarketer in 2019, 73% of Gen Z prefer that brands get in touch about new products through Instagram. If you are not present where your customers are, you miss the opportunity to engage them when they are most interested in purchasing your products and services. It is necessary to identify which digital channels your customers are most active so that you can implement contact actions in these platform-specific environments.
If your company sells only one physical product, there will always be a service linked to the purchase flow. That is why it is essential to have a 24/7 online service channel enabled to meet customer needs. Simple actions like a section of frequently asked questions or setting up a chatbot. Using AI on your website can automatically meet many of the needs of those who want to connect with your brand, without needing them to call you.
Chatbots are still a long way from replacing human assistance. They have already proven to be an incredible virtual assistant for companies, mainly to provide information when human agents are not available. Further, the speed of service is a determining factor in building brand awareness. Automated service is increasingly in demand, especially to meet the necessities of large retailers and CPG companies where the volume of messages is enormous.
Convenience of Purchase
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated the digital transformation of many companies, including small retailers, as a means to survive this new digital economy. Consumers are increasingly searching for solutions and strive to have their needs met through smartphones. Unfortunately, companies that do not offer this type of shopping convenience will be left behind.
Access to information, increasingly present within the consumer’s hand, has made customization more critical and demanding. On the other hand, new technology makes it possible to understand customers’ actions in a way we have never experienced before. With the processing of data by AI, humanization allows a company to combine data and analysis to personalize interaction between consumers and the company.
To provide the best experience, brands must collect detailed information at all touchpoints. That way, they can be used to deliver relevant suggestions and personalized servicing in the future. Supporting this notion, a recent survey by Adobe found that 64% of Gen Z buyers and 72% of millennials think brands should provide a customized experience.
“Marketing practitioners have come to realize that understanding how consumers experience brands and, in turn, how to provide appealing brand experiences for them, is crucial for differentiating their offerings in a competitive marketplace …” – Bernd Schmitt, author of the book Experience Marketing: Concepts, Frameworks, and Consumer Insights.
After analyzing your customer’s profile, it is essential to offer personalized communication. An example of this is compelling, targeted campaigns on Facebook, Instagram, or even the segmentation of your customer base for email marketing. With a database full of information, companies need to offer the right product to the right customer at precisely the right time.
Simplicity and Ease of Use
Investing in good website architecture, coupled with an excellent user interface, is not for amateurs. It requires experience to create logical and intuitive hierarchical structures and, at the same time, provide efficient and straightforward navigation. When creating the architecture of a website, it is best to follow the three clicks rule. It is an old web design technique that, despite not having scientific proof, helps minimize the clicks when designing the client journey. As a result, the team at Brand & Mortar has managed to create websites that provide simple navigation. This methodology contributes widely to deliver a better UX (User Experience) since the site navigation is fluid and dynamic, be it mobile or desktop.
A fluid navigation experience on the smartphone through a responsive website may seem essential, but surprisingly, companies do not always follow it. According to a CGK study, more than half (55%) of generation Z use their smartphones five or more hours a day and more than a quarter (26%) use their phones ten or more hours a day, hence the term “mobile-first” has never been more relevant to today.
Focus on Omnichannel Delivery
It is necessary to design an omnichannel strategy to improve the user experience and promote better relationships with the target audience at all touchpoints. The omnichannel is a multi-channel content strategy whose main objective is to standardize the user experience and encourage better relationships with consumers, from brand awareness to after-sales, regardless of whether the contacts are online or in person. Suppose a customer initiates interaction with your brand in the physical store. In that case, that experience will continue as the customer accesses your website or social media or even through IoT devices such as connected cars, smart TVs, and appliances. In the omnichannel, the channel itself becomes secondary, and the customer experience is the primary focus.
The digital interaction with the customer is driven by the customer experience and needs, not by the internal processes of the company. At Brand & Mortar, our expert strategist encourages clients to implement the points mentioned above. Winning customers is very important, but maintaining loyalty and trust is essential for building a strong brand. Securing customer business may be easy, but winning back a customer after one bad experience is near impossible. Protect your business and execute a customer experience strategy that can stand the test of time.
Andre Havro, MBA