The Dawn Of The New Customer Experience

BLOGS

To quote Bob Dylan perhaps out of context when talking about customer experience, ‘the times, they are a changin’. Indeed they are. The days of brands getting away with providing a mediocre experience to their customers are long gone. Customer experience is on the forefront of helping brands gain an advantage in an intensely competitive global arena. Brands that can deliver a consistent and seamless customer experience will reap the rewards and those that can’t will find it hard to compete. Below I have addressed some trends that I think will have an important impact on customer experience now and into the future.



Be Thoughtful



I don’t mean stopping in on the way home and buying your partner a 6 pack of their favourite lager or a tub of ice cream after you know they’ve had a rough day (although that couldn’t hurt). I’m referring to thinking, considering and connecting with your customers. Why? Because we as consumers react far more favourably towards brands when we feel acknowledged and understood (sort of like our personal lives I guess). When customers feel like brands understand their needs, they develop an emotional connection which leads to all those desirable behaviours we as marketers lick our lips at. Thoughtfulness for a brand stems from being customer-centric from the ground up. Reflect on your brand and ask questions like:

  • How does your brand make your customer feel?

  • Does the customer value the service?

  • How could the customer connect emotionally with the brand?

  • What channels do you use to connect with your customers?
  • Once you have an idea about how your customers feel about your products, you can then take steps to amplify that feeling — assuming it’s a positive sentiment. The beauty of tech in 2020 is that it gives us the opportunity to be thoughtful using a variety of channels. Using tech we can hone in elements of our brands offering that makes our customers feel connected, empowered and valued.



    Be Transparent



    In the last few years digital privacy and transparency have been splattered all over the news, written about heavily and pushed whenever you land on any website in EU or the US. Transparency is certainly one of the most important and most pressing customer experience trends at current. Being transparent includes elements of your business like advertising practices, pricing, business practices. Doing all of this transparently and openly can help you build and maintain trust with your consumers, which in 2020 is paramount to ongoing success.

    Transparency is closely tied to a company’s marketing efforts. Creating marketing communication that is genuine and reflects your brands values builds trust and holds you in good stead in the minds of your consumers. On the flip, dishonestly in the digital age is easily exposed and can instantly break down trust between your brand and consumers that can take years to regain. Think of all the review sites, social media posts and articles in the last 12 months you have seen that expose such a brands dishonesty. Not only can this be a PR disaster, it can mean you see a direct loss in sales revenue if not promptly addressed correctly.

    In closing, we live in an era where more data is being collected digitally than ever before. In light of this, we recommend going above and beyond what is required by law in regards to transparency, to show your customers exactly what you will do with their data.




    We Like Big Bots (and we cannot lie)



    Welcome to the age of the chatbot! A whole article could be written on bots and their impact on customer experience (in fact, I just might). Currently there are over 300,000 chatbots in operation on Facebook alone, and that number is predicted to skyrocket within the next 12 months. The industries profiting the most from this trend are real estate, travel, education healthcare and finally finance. Bots are taking over in a big way! It is further predicted that 80% of businesses will have a chatbot automation present in their digital strategy by 2020. This comes down to the inherent benefits chatbots have for both businesses and consumers.

    For businesses chatbots can save up to 30% in customer support costs, by using data to program bots to solve simple or even more complex consumer queries. For consumers who are increasingly expecting around the clock customer service, chatbots provide a platform where this is very much possible.

    In light of their mutual benefits to both consumers and businesses it is inevitable that the chatbot industry will continually grow and become even more central to business communication. It is still worth mentioning there is a way to go before chatbots can fulfil their potential as a business tool, challenges still remain. These challenges are concerned with bots being unable to understand requests that may occur outside of their programming, lack of conversational intelligence and difficulty understanding accents and cultural dialect. With improving AI technology, I predict a lot of these challenges will progressively become less of an issue within the next 5 years.

    Give Your Brand Purpose



    More than ever, consumers are interested in the way brands contribute to society at large, in some cases demanding brand to support social causes near and dear to their hearts. Of course this is being driven by those pesky millennials, but the sentiment is now crossing over into a range of market segments.

    For brands, being genuine and authentic on the causes on which they rally for is paramount and should directly align with with the brand values upheld by the organisation. Do this correctly and you are putting your brand in a position to build further trust and engagement with consumers.

    Deloitte in a recent article states that ‘Businesses are using purpose to create deeper connections with consumers, doing more for the communities in which they work, attract and retain talent, and achieve greater results and impact in the process. Companies with high levels of purpose outperform the market by 5–7 per cent per year’. This could be the edge your business needs to get that leg up on your competitors and create that magic word ‘differentiation’.

    On this point, being environmentally sustainable as a business will no longer cut it. This is now an expectation. Ignore this and face an angry mob of Birkenstock wearing consumers shaking their fists at your gates. Thought leadership especially in a social sense is very attractive to consumers and your brand will be rewarded for putting your money where your mouth is in this regard. Consumers care about your brands principals, and data suggests they will change their purchase behaviour based on these factors.

    To Conclude



    The landscape of customer experience is moving beneath our very feet like some sort of digital treadmill. In order to gain or maintain competitive advantage, it is worth considering how the above points can be implemented in your product or brand strategy. You may not even need a big shake up. There are small wins to be had by including something as small as a personalised thank you message to everyone who supports your brand by making a purchase, or including a chatbot for after hours support on your website. You don’t need to break the bank and alot of these functions can be promptly automated. If you need help with automation or just want to get a range for costs and available off the shelf products don’t hesitate to get in touch with the team here at Sprint!