Customer Experience: The New Marketing Paradigm.Jan 22, 2019
Customer experience isn’t exactly a new invention.
At its heart, great customer experience comes down to convenience, relevance, and a personal touch; it’s about making it as easy as possible for customers to work with you.
But is customer experience (CX) actually worth the hype? Can CX actually move the needle when it comes to what actually matters to businesses—bringing in new customers and closing more sales?
The short answer: yes.
The long answer: in today’s crowded online marketplace, customer experience is a necessary differentiator from your competitors. Emerging technologies give you more tools than ever to deliver innovative, custom experiences that speak to what your customers need. If branding was the catchphrase of the early 2010s, customer experience creates a path forward for innovative marketers.
It goes beyond customer service and solving problems for angry users. Customer experience covers every interaction a user has with a brand: online and offline.
Price and quality aren’t enough to set you apart. With the rise of e-commerce and online business platforms, customers are the ones in the driver’s seat with the power to choose between companies. Price and quality aren’t strong enough differentiators in today’s competitive global economy. With online shopping, customers have more freedom to order cheap products online with Amazon, or to shop around for a remote business partner.
Power to the people. Customers aren’t as loyal as they used to be—more options means more freedom, making it harder for companies to keep customers long-term. The Internet puts a wealth of information at our fingertips, and allows customers to research and compare options before choosing.
Technology raises the bar. With near-instant gratification and quick responses, companies like Amazon and Uber have set a new standard of experience—and customers are willing to cut ties in order to get that experience. Cutting-edge technologies use big data to deliver personalized experiences that remember customer’s preferences and make it easier than ever to buy, with brands seamlessly integrated into our phones and digital social life. If companies can’t keep up with customer expectations, it can lead to lots of customer turnover.
It’s all about the experience. Beyond functional products and services, customers want experiences that spark joy. Millennials in particular prioritize experiences and memories over just stuff: your service carries an emotional association, and you can control it with CX design.
See how your customer experience stacks up with these three keys.
1. Ask for feedback
The best source of information on your customers are your customers. Customer feedback is crucial to identifying problems and understanding your user’s perspective. Asking customers for input also makes them feel valued and important, which bolsters your long-term relationship.
When it comes to CX, there’s no such thing as too much information. Do research and talk to customers to better understand what goes into their decision-making process. Where are they getting stuck in the sales process? Where do they need more information or a little extra support?
2. Customer-centric design
The customer—and their needs, wants, and expectations—should be the foundation for your service and online presence. Continually test your website, emails, and posts to get user feedback and figure out what works best for them. Instead of trying to force a square peg (your product) into a round hole (a skeptical audience), start with the customers’ needs and build your service around them.
Knowing your customer helps you decide where to concentrate your marketing budget and create meaningful experiences that impact the bottom line. Gallery Design Studio can help you conduct user research and craft creative solutions to your customer’s problems. With journey mapping, we can help you identify the most critical junctions in the user experience, so you can leverage content and multimedia to smooth out the seams.
3. Let’s get personal
Customers need different support in different stages, and by anticipating their needs, you can create a frictionless experience. Segment your audience based on where they are in the sales funnel—how much they know about your brand, how seriously they’re considering you, or if they’ve purchased your service in the past.
It’s all about being in the right place at the right time. For visitors who are just learning about your company, your website should be clear and easy to navigate. If users have to click through a dozen pages to get the information they’ll need, they’ll quickly lose interest. Remember your returning customers’ names, interests, and locations to deliver offers that make the most sense for them. Based on user research, choose the digital channels—like Instagram or blogs—where your customers spend most of their time. Modern users always have their phones within arm’s reach, and by quickly responding to customer queries and problems on social, you can give them the personal touch they crave.
Customers don’t want to have to go through their whole story every time they talk to someone new at your company—Instead of siloing off customer insight by department, share data across teams and keep it in a central, accessible location.
Of course, not every interaction has to be personal. Some experiences, like the homepage of your website, can reach a more universal audience.
It might seem impossible to satisfy today’s customers—users demand instant service responses, more interactive experiences, and users are quick to hold brands publicly accountable online. But ultimately, customers only want to be heard, their expectations are just keeping pace with new technological leaps forward. By knowing what your customers want and need, and solving their problems before they arise, you can create a seamless, compelling customer experience. By addressing customer problems while they’re still minor frustrations, you can create a positive ripple effect that results in higher customer retention, loyalty, and more revenue for your business.
Interested in pioneering excellent experiences for your customers?
Contact us to discuss how strategic design solutions can boost your customer experience.