Enhancing Customer Experience in 2020…
30 Apr 2020
The customer experience has always been important in businesses of all kinds. In the digital age, however, the argument can be made that it’s now more important than ever. Consumers are aware that businesses today have more capabilities than ever before, and their expectations have risen accordingly. As a result, those businesses face a greater need not just to improve efficiency, but to provide optimal experiences for their customers.
To that point, WSJ’s Irving Wladawsky-Berger called CX the key competitive differentiator in the digital age. As he wrote, “consumers want a positive experience, not just a transactional relationship, with the brands and companies they engage with.” It is important, therefore, for businesses not just to make experiences efficient but to make their clients feel valued, or even special. Below, we’ll look into some of the ways they can do just that.
Quite possibly the most important aspect of the modern customer experience is personalisation. Putting it simply, companies today have the ability to gather an immense amount of data about their customers, or even about potential customers or people in target demographics. And it’s up to those companies to put that data to use in order to cater to specific consumer needs and preferences.
This can take any number of forms. In fact, it must by nature do so. What we’re ultimately talking about those is leveraging AI data collection and organisation to understand prospective customers in a comprehensive manner. When a potential client is interacting with a company, that company should know any relevant purchasing history or spending habits, whether or not the potential client falls within a target market, and what that potential client might ultimately be looking for. This in turn enables a contact centre or customer service department to speak to specific needs and tailor the experience to individuals.
When we talk about efficient delivery, we don’t necessarily just mean the delivery of products to customers. We’re also referring to companies’ internal supply chains, and their ability to keep stores stocked for customers’ convenience. In either case though, companies today have the opportunity to offer a significantly improved experience by embracing automated tracking in their shipping fleets.
Verizon Connect’s Simon Austin-Beckett wrote about vehicle tracking as it relates to improved customer service, and pointed out some of the specific benefits. As he put it, outfitting fleet vehicles with tracking technology can help a company to monitor arrival times and service more customers in a given day (by leveraging real-time insights about routes). It also provides data that a company can use over the long term to better optimise routes and make the whole delivery process more reliably efficient. These are not efforts the customer necessarily sees, but they’re certainly some that lead to a better overall customer experience, in that they ensure product availability.
Aligning Sustainability Efforts
For a few years now we’ve been hearing that consumers overwhelmingly value sustainability. Lately however, that talk has become more definitive. Renae Reints covered consumers and sustainability for Fortune last November, and revealed that we now “have the receipts.” That is to say, data on consumer spending habits now lines up with what consumers have been saying: by and large, they seek out and reward brands that operate sustainably.
What this means for those working on CX for their companies is that sustainability needs to be part of the picture. This begins with what is essentially advertising — making it clear to potential customers what your company is doing to help the environment, preserve resources, etc. However, it’s also possible to go beyond this first, basic step. For instance, a company might align with an eco-friendly charity, donating a small portion of proceeds toward a cause and thanking customers for their contributions. Little gestures like this can go a long way toward making a consumer feel a real connection to a brand.
Social Media Integration
Another major aspect of the modern customer experience is meeting the customer where he or she most likes to operate. Much of the time, this means making it easier for the customer to engage with your company via social media.
Our article on Instagram Checkout discussed this idea, sometimes referred to as social commerce. Basically, it’s the idea that tying payment functionality to social media apps allows customers to engage with a brand without even visiting its website. Some of the easiest examples, which we noted in the aforementioned article, are shoe brands. On any given consumer might simply be more likely to interact with Nike- or Adidas-related posts on social than to visit those companies’ websites. So, by using features like Instagram Checkout, those same companies can meet consumers where they already are, and convert them into customers. In this case, it’s all about making things easy — indeed, nearly effortless — for customers.
These examples don’t cover the full range of CX needs and strategies for modern companies. They do demonstrate, however, how many companies are going further to meet consumers’ growing demand for better, more personal, and more convenient service. Generally, those businesses that do put substantial effort into these practices are likely to develop loyal and enthusiastic customer bases.