In the first in a series of blogs on ‘customer centricity’ we consider the concept of the customer experience, and ask how – and if – brands can deliver a consistent quality experience in an increasingly digitally converged world.
Way back in the pre-Internet dark ages, customer experience – or CX – didn’t exist. Actually, it did. But it wasn’t a ‘thing’ – at least not in the same way. A customer’s experience was the result of visiting a bricks and mortar store; and was deemed positive when they left the store with a good feeling about the place, the people, and the purchase. Fast-forward to 2018, and while the concept of what constitutes a store – whether it’s an app, a website, or a pop up shop in the centre of town – may have shifted, the end result (that positive feeling) is still very much the end goal for every business.
But when the sales and marketing landscapes are so fragmented, how can your company create a consistent, high quality customer experience across many different touchpoints?
Customers can experience your brand in many different ways. They might read an article about a company, briefly visit your website, and later be retargeted with an online ad. They might go to a shop, browse, buy, and sign up for a monthly email newsletter in exchange for a POS discount. In each instance, there’s an expectation that they’ll see the same consistent brand logo, design, and overall communication. But can customer service really work in the same way? Of course it can! A true brand isn’t two dimensional; it’s a living thing. It’s a set of values. And when those values are actively applied by the people working for a brand, they become an integral part of the customer experience. Ultimately, customers of all shapes and sizes should be able to engage with your brand through their preferred channel – whether it’s an email, messaging feed, you name it – and always experience the same positive feeling.
Ask yourself the following question: Is your brand already meeting your customers in their preferred channels of communication? Regardless of the answer, let’s talk about further aspects of your brand experience: trust through transparency.
While it may be easy to see how good CX can make an impact in a traditional customer-merchant environment - it is important to ask the following questions: What about the vast number of your online interfaces? How can your online shop, for example, deliver ‘service with a smile’? Well, it can be user-friendly. A streamlined or low effort checkout process is a great example of digital CX at work. So too is information access. Creating a quick reference FAQ section can easily resolve customer confusion, or clarify any peculiarities customers may encounter.
However, as real-time communications and messaging services become increasingly popular as customer interaction tools, these need to be incorporated into your overall CX mix. From Facebook Messenger to in-app chat features that serve a specific function – it’s crucial to understand that the availability of technology and the data driving it creates greater demand for transparency.
For example, simple things like keeping your customers informed about the status of their parcel delivery; or giving them a direct service partner to contact when they have questions – reducing information asymmetry among all involved parties can only enhance your customer experience. We at Mesaic are enabling companies to design an individual customer experience across all channels - on- and offline. Are your brand values visible across all of your customer touchpoints yet? No? Let’s work on this together! Get in touch with Mesaic.
Last but not least:
If customer service is a delivery mechanism, then CX is the strategy driving it. A good customer experience means being able to hold up a mirror to all your customer touchpoints - traditional and digital - and be satisfied that anyone who encounters or interfaces with your brand, in any environment, will come away with a positive feeling.
Ultimately a good customer experience is exactly the same as it ever was – it’s just that technology’s created a few extra steps towards satisfied customers; plus customer demands and requirements are steadily changing as new sales and communications channels come to fruition.
Technology is not a cure-all; but can help deliver a highly personalized customer experience, by creating consistent customer journeys (think booking processes within a messenger chat) across all touchpoints; ultimately resulting in strong and meaningful customer relationships between businesses and their customers.
Let's get in touch. Whether you drop me a mail, give me a call or simply use the Facebook Messenger - you choose the channel.
As said above: technology is not a cure-all - but the successfull combination of touchpoints definitely is.
We can help you transform your customer interactions – such as delivery, customer service, and online booking processes – into valuable experiences (learn more here).
To be continued... Watch out for our next article on the Customer Journey!