Embracing digital technology to enhance customer experience (CX)
Emerging technology has revolutionized our purchasing habits. It limits the number of intermediaries involved and dematerializes the whole buying process. We went from brick and mortar to E-commerce, showrooming and marketplaces. Big disruptors like Airbnb, Netflix and Amazon have altered our expectations when it comes to service. Those expectations are now higher than ever and continue to grow. And if you take a closer look at what these trailblazers have in common, their ongoing success can clearly be attributed to their use of emerging technology to drive customer experience (CX).
With time and experience, Tink has honed its ability to guide organizations in their digital transformation. So, if you want to offer your customers a powerful and unique experience, we recommend that you consider a few critical elements before starting this kind of project.
Data as input, experience as output
What makes digital technology such a remarkable asset when it comes to customer experience? Data. It is an essential input in the CX process.
If an organization has the infrastructure in place to gather a sufficient volume and variety of data to generate a compelling enough sample, and it continues to grow at a worthy pace, it has the key to strong, data-driven marketing. Once captured, the data has to be stored, analyzed and shared with the relevant verticals. With the input of experts from each department involved in the organization’s strategic thinking, that organization can extract insights from the data. And because digital technology gives us the power to measure pretty much everything (provided that the platforms and tools are configured properly), you can eliminate certain biases. Over time, you will refine your understanding of your target by testing hypotheses and observing your customers’ behaviour.
Data-driven marketing will generate value for both your customers and your company. But, don’t make the mistake of moving to data-centric marketing! The customer has to remain at the heart of your plans. This is what makes CX (powered by insights from primary data) so compelling.
Digital technology serves CX in the sense that it makes it possible to personalize customer experience, segmentation and process automation. Then, you can limit irritants by maximizing the quality of the experience felt by each customer according to points of contact, needs, browsing habits, how often he/she visits, location, the size of the screen, etc.
CX is not to be confused with UX, UX serves CX’s purpose
Even if user experience (UX) plays a part in guiding customer experience (CX), they aren’t one and the same. Understanding this distinction can be a challenge for some when it comes to digital technology. CX is about the customer’s experience when interacting with your brand, regardless of point of contact. As for UX, it’s about the experience that the user lives online while using your digital platform.
Let’s take the example of someone shopping for a vacation in Mexico. While the industry formerly focused on sun packages in the south, the more innovative companies now offer the possibility of choosing a destination or planning an itinerary according to the desired experience (gastronomy, activity or relaxation). Long gone are the days of travel agencies. Now people can easily buy plane tickets through bargain sites, travel guides, crowdsourcing and TripAdvisor.
CX also continues into after-sales support, say if any problems arise during the trip and/or in the person’s confidence in the brand. While UX may be limited to online interaction, transaction time or trip planning, CX is echoed in the emotions felt by the user.
Digital technology delivers a personalized and well-rounded experience
If your company operates both online and offline, you are not immune to the challenges associated with ensuring that your customers’ experiences are similar and satisfying, regardless of the channel they use to do business with you. Online, it’s much harder to provide a personalized service to your customers and that is one of the reasons that more and more medium and large companies are developing loyalty programs.
This kind of initiative allows you to collect data (purchasing habits and history) on your customers as unique individuals. You “learn” to know them by analyzing data. This is what we call customer intelligence. You can then offer promotions on the products they consume most frequently or offer them new products they are likely to enjoy because of their preferences.
Digital technology is the key to effective CX before, during and after purchase
From the moment a customer comes into contact with your company, the experience you offer has to be smooth and top-notch, regardless of the channel. Take a decision-making tree, or an instantaneous interaction with a chatbot with the goal of being redirected to the right service, without having to wait, or the flexibility offered by social media and Messenger. Not to mention the proximity and segmentation that a newsletter will get you.
For your CX approach to be exhaustive and relevant, it has to be multi-channel, and there is lots of ground to cover in the digital realm. It’s up to you to ensure that your customers like their overall experience with your company throughout their entire purchase cycle.
Let’s take an example that will speak to most of us:
- Before: When shopping for a mortgage, a potential customer will usually check out the different offers available to them before making an appointment with some banks. But which financial institutions did that person contact? Did the person have a positive experience with one of them in particular? Which institutions were useful at certain points of his/her life and, more importantly, is the information that he/she needs clear and easily accessible?
- During: Once the buyer decides to contact a specific institution instead of another, the process of making an appointment (and the appointment itself) has to be simple and efficient if the buyer’s experience is going to be positive. The human contact element of the process has to be authentic and reassuring.
- After: Once the customer has signed the mortgage, can he/she find the answers to questions easily? Who can he/she contact? How is the relationship maintained with the customer?
At Tink, we’re firm believers in putting your customers at the centre of your customer experience strategy. They are a key component in enhancing the development process. Plus, consumers are increasingly open to sharing their data.
And don’t forget that the experience you want for your customers isn’t necessarily what they’re looking for. Never neglect to include them in your equation!
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