Steve jobs once quoted “you got to start with the customer experience and work back towards the technology – not the other way round”
We are all living in an experience economy where it is the experience that sells and creates a recall. Buying habits of customers have changed and evolved over time. Customers get influenced easily with the digital footprints of their peers and this creates enormous pressure on brands to maintain a positive recall about the products and services in the minds of their customers.
However, most brands find it challenging to provide a consistent and seamless user experience to their customers. Some of the challenges include adopting changing consumer behavior, leveraging new age digital technologies, rising competition, and much more.
Outlined below are the important techniques that a brand can incorporate to enhance their customer experience and gain the competitive advantage over others:
1.) Track customer journeys to get valuable customer intelligence
Customer intelligence can be obtained from various touchpoints may it be at the POS where customers interact with the employees for their queries, after sales service desk for getting the post sales support, social media for escalating an issue or live chat on the company’s website. Brands looking to build strong ties with customers ensure that they build personas and segment the customers appropriately basis the information obtained. After a thoughtful segmentation and targeting, brands can start gauging the customer journey and map against the obtained intelligence to see if they are able to improve or enhance the experience of individual customers. Vodafone, for instance, is able to customize journey maps basis their segments. They segment their customers into high-priority global segments: young users, active users, occasional users, and so on.
2) Personalize the experience using data and analytics
Think of a scenario where your favorite brand knows your needs and recommends the product after applying a host of predictive analytics algorithms – you will be amazed and thrilled – isn’t it? Utilize data to drive customer relationships, personalize individual buyer’s journey and cross sell / up sell right fit products. Big Data also helps to limit the user interaction to a few clicks and only show the most relevant information that a user wants to consume.
Nordstrom, America’s leading fashion retailer, is investing heavily in data-driven personalized online and in-store experiences. Their team uses social data gathered from Pinterest pins for identifying trending products and promote these popular products in their brick and mortar stores.
Similarly, Sephora is planning to install iBeacons across their stores in the US for offering personalized offers and product recommendations to customers basis the data.
3) Leverage technology to drive CX
A lot of brands are already leveraging a combination of digital technologies to provide instant gratification to customers may it be enhancing virtual buying experience using augmented and virtual reality, cloud to improve the application response time, design-led engineering to improve user task flows, or mobile-first development to provide seamless on-the-go content delivery. Using technology, brands are able to communicate with their customers in real-time.
An interesting example here is of IKEA. IKEA created an AR catalog app to help customers visualize IKEA products in their homes before they decide to purchase them. Customers launch the app on their smart devices and use the inbuilt camera to capture an image of their room. WayfairView is a similar augmented reality app by Wayfair that allows the users to place full-scale 3-D virtual models of Wayfair’s products in a real home setting.
4) Sync online and offline experiences to be seamless and consistent
It is extremely important that company’s live chat shares the same information as the person on POS. Syncing online and in-store or offline experience is crucial for generating consistent and seamless omnichannel user experience.
Apple has gone the extra mile to provide consistent in-store and mobile experience. For instance, customers can book appointments via the app at Genius Bar. Walk-in users get confirmation about the technician through messages. Customers who place online orders get messages to collect the items when they are near stores. Alerts help customers to share relevant order details with sales reps and collect their products.
Clearly, customer experience is mission critical to businesses. A lot of companies are now focusing on digital technologies such as big data, mobility, predictive analytics and cloud to ramp up their customer experience. These technologies act as an arsenal for companies to retain customers, engage them and regain the competitive advantage.