At the inagural CX Talks event, Will Payman, Macquarium's VP of Strategy, and Internet of Things (IoT) consultant Miguel Garcia delivered a presentation on how smart devices and services can be powerful tools to augment and improve your customer's experience. With estimates of over 50B smart devices by 2020, there will be an explosion in touch points that Customer Experience professionals will have to create, manage, and optimize. This will require new thinking about the components of an experience, a potential shift from products to services, and new ways of measuring the experience. We believe that there are 3 things companies should be considering when they think about the next wave of experience building.
In a world filled with options, be it where to buy a product, or to get a ride to the airport or even to find a significant other, Customer Experience (CX) is one of the most powerful components to creating customer loyalty. Using CX as the guiding principle for how you sell your product or service will help ensure you’re not inadvertently creating C-Exes.
The truth of the matter is customers are willing to switch, if even partially, because of a bad experience. It’s no longer enough to offer the product or service, you have to woo a customer to your site. You have to wow them while they are on (and off) your site. And finally, you must win their preference to return.
There’s little dispute that Amazon is best in class at living this methodology, and the results to prove its value, too. They clearly have the customer at the forefront of their innovation and value how they can make life easier by focusing on the human aspect of the shopping, purchasing and using experience.
“We see our customers as invited guests to a party, and we are the hosts. It’s our job every day to make every important aspect of the customer experience a little bit better.” – Jeff Bezos, Amazon CEO
Design has become increasingly more complex. We’ve gone from simply worrying about what typeface to use and what grid to put it on, to thinking about how accessible our design is, how well it enhances the underpinning layer of UX, how it reduces customer effort, and how well it’s advocating a better brand. In my quest to become a more conscientious designer in this busy, complex world, I’ve found a few invaluable resources that I’d like to share. Specifically, I’ve found three books to make anyone a better UI designer.
There is an often-repeated mantra in business that it is easier to grow your business by doing more business with existing customers than by acquiring new ones. The goals of customer experience improvements are to actualize that mantra. Based upon a recent conference I attended, one might have come away with a very different point of view – that the goals of Customer Experience (CX) are to increase customer acquisition and conversion.
At this conference, speaker after speaker discussed ensuring a good or strong CX from the very first touch point the prospective customer had with their firm. The very first touchpoint. There was a lot of conversation around first impressions. Ease of doing business. Ensuring a quality experience through lengthy and extended sales cycles. Plenty of thoughts around how the entire ecosystem has to be considered to ensure these prospective new clients were getting everything they needed in order to ‘convert’ and become actual customers. And herein lies the rub. While all of the above is true, customer experience is about a lot more than just customer acquisition.
Find yourself in a group of customer experience (CX) professionals, and phrases like “delighting the customer” or "creating moments of wow” will pepper the discussions. You will learn that delighting your customers will result in increased loyalty, share of wallet and a positive word of mouth. Few would argue that delivering a great CX provides you a competitive edge, but what return should you expect from delighting the customer?
Customer Expectations and "Moments of Wow”
At the Customer Experience Professionals Association’s conference in Phoenix this year, the Corporate Executive Board presented some interesting insights from The Effortless Experience. The author of the book Matt Dixon cited a study with over 125,000 people who had interacted over the phone with contact-center representatives or through self-service channels such as the web, voice prompts, chat, and e-mail.
Conventional wisdom is that exceeding customer expectations deepens loyalty, however the study detected only a slight increase in loyalty after customer expectations had been met. It turns out that creating delight consistently is difficult and only succeeds in 16% of the interactions with an incremental operating cost between 10 to 20%.
The field of chronemics is another branch of cultural anthropology that can be applied to digital communication. It relates to the way we structure and use time. Chronemics is frequently defined as the study of the role of time in communication. As I mentioned in an earlier post, notions of time play a significant role in the communication process. Time perception plays an important role in non-verbal communication as well as verbal communication. The use of time can affect lifestyle, relationships, attention spans, speed of speech and other behavior. These notions of time are learned experiences and vary across societies.
Chronemics divides the world into two primary camps in terms of their approach to and usage of time – monochronic and polychronic. Monochronic cultures tend to view time as discrete rather than continuous. In these cultures, time is organized into fixed, precise elements, often to be optimized for maximum efficiency. In this system, time is scheduled, arranged and managed. As a result, there are many known elements that comprise monochronic cultures. These include arriving on time, utilizing schedules, adhering to deadlines, doing one task at a time, valuing personal space and having ‘completion’ as the primary metric for success. Examples of monochronic cultures include the United States, Northern Europe and Israel. If you read my previous post, monochronic cultures also tend to be low context.
Earn the top spot on page 1 of Google search results and you’ve got yourself a competitive advantage. The top 3 positions on page 1 of Google search results account for 54% of clicks, with a 31% click through rate for the top spot. If you’re at the top, you can be sure your competitors will be coming for you, doing all they can to get a better position on the page while knocking you off the top spot. Mastering organic and paid search to improve online conversion is a marathon, not a sprint. But what if you could get there faster – and secure your position more effectively?
HubSpot’s State of Inbound 2017 report reveals that the biggest priority for 61% of marketers is growing SEO and organic presence on the web. And this isn’t just a priority for U.S. marketers – it was listed as the top priority across all surveyed geographical regions: North America, Australia & New Zealand, Asia, Latin America, Europe, Middle East, and Africa.
Being relevant in search has been a priority for brands and marketers since Google became a thing, but search is a constantly changing landscape. One survey respondent for the State of Inbound 2017 summed up the primary challenge: “Google makes a lot of changes to their search algorithms, and it impacts websites and SEO.”
To be relevant in search results, you need the structurally sound foundation of a high performing, well-architected website with relevant content, but you must also move beyond the foundation. Gone are the days when a strong website presence alone would guarantee you top page rankings. Now, to ensure you have a presence when and where your customers hang out online, you need a strategy that spans the digital ecosystem: engaging, relevant content amplified on a variety of social sharing channels.
Innovation. The word is overused and mostly invokes thoughts of big, sweeping changes on a grand scale. As in, BOOM: Innovation!
I like to think smaller.
Innovation is sometimes quieter, sneakier than all that. Maybe it’s a thought-provoking idea that leads us to a better way; a subtle point of breakage from the status quo that turns out to be something we can’t live without. Not always earth-shattering, sometimes the smaller shifts make the most profound differences over time. Below are three articles that have eye-catching appeal for thinking differently; small-ish, smart examples of innovation with lasting impact:
In my last post I outlined a framework to improve cross cultural communication in the digital realm utilizing some of the concepts from the field of cultural anthropology. In this installment, I will focus on the first construct that I discussed in my last post – cultural context. According to Edward Hall, the pioneer of this concept, a high context message indicates a rather implicit meaning, which is ‘either in the physical context or internalized in the person’, and little information is included in the ‘coded, explicit, transmitted part’, and vice versa for a low context message.
Customers want to connect with their favorite brands, and smart brands understand that customer engagement is key to building long-term customer satisfaction and loyalty. Good customer engagement builds an emotional connection between a customer and a brand, leading to increased frequency of purchases, higher average spending, and a much higher propensity to choose that brand in the future.
There are many avenues of customer engagement, but at the heart of it is personalization. Customers want to feel like their voice is being heard, that they’re important and valuable to the company. We see this every day in the social media world, where customers can speak directly to brands on Twitter and Facebook and get personal attention that may be lacking in other channels. But even as fast as social media moves, it’s still a non-real time interaction and doesn’t guarantee a response.