Brands are all touting customer experience but most are failing.
Brands think they understand customer experience because they have Customer Data, and even Big Data. They use analytics and some technology to drive their next best actions. But lots of data without real insight isn’t going to be helpful. Companies are drowning in data and really don’t know what is important and what isn’t. In fact, your behavioral data alone isn’t enough to help you understand your customer experience.
Brands look at their customer through their own lenses without understanding the customer’s point of view. Brands collect data via surveys where they ask customers to answer questions which they think are relevant and important. They execute customer journey mapping where the brand looks at the current end to end customer journey based on what they think is happening. They get in a room and brainstorm the situation and then get internal data to justify what they have drawn. They even use their current dashboards to look at different customer behaviors such as location, time of day, net promoter score, email opens, social media sentiment, etc. to help fill in the missing data.
Customer experience is not about what you think customers are doing or want. Instead you have to get out of your company and interact with your customers in their environment. This is called ethnographic research. The fundamental shift is looking at the world from your customer’s point of view not your own internal assumptions. So start using one on one interviews, mystery shopping, online focus groups etc. to speed up your collection of qualitative and quantitative insights.
Customer experience requires an understanding of your brand values and the experience your customers expect from you. It’s based on their expectations of what is going to be delivered. Customers want you to make it easy for them, personalized (build on what you already know about them), and enable them to change their minds along the way. Understanding their needs means being able to deliver more positive emotions into their experience.
The first rule of customer experience is to look at your different customer segments/personae and be sure you understand how your groups are different from each other. There is no one size fits all customer experience that will satisfy your customers. Instead you will need to create different experiences for your different segments and then keep updating them as the customer’s expectations continue to change.
You need to interact with your customers to find out what they think of your current experience and also to find out how they want to change that experience. You need to collaborate with your customers and your partners to create new products and services that are consistent with your brand values. Use design thinking to improve how your products look, feels and works. Then test and constantly change and customize what you deliver.
Customer Experience requires customer collaboration –so get out there and interact with your customers. They are happy to tell you what they want and what you need to do to improve. Now you need to listen and innovate. The days of failing to deliver on your brand promise are over and it’s time to deliver real customer value and get your entire organization on board. Customers need to know you care about them!
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