How to be a growth-centric customer experience brand

Aamir Qutub

Aamir Qutub

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Good news: a 2019 Forrester study revealed that Australian brands have not risen to the Excellent Category of its Customer Experience Index. This means that the race remains wide open. Will yours be the first brand to occupy a spot in this category?

In a competitive business environment, it has been argued customer experience is a key differentiator. Today’s consumers are looking for an all-encompassing experience with a brand, not just with its product or service. Across all stages of the consumer journey, they expect to be treated as individuals with unique needs. People don’t to be treated as just another digit in the digital age.

In the web and mobile app development space, both designers and technologists are increasingly pushed to develop a design-thinking approach. Neither creativity (designers) nor technology (technologists) can dominate the development. Both have to put customer experience at the forefront of their work rather than aesthetics or functionalities. Mapping out the customer journey is a design thinking principle they have to apply. In case you’re wondering if the concept of customer experience is just another passing marketing fad, take note of this.

A PwC Survey, The Future of Customer Experience 2017/18, revealed that over 7 in 10 Australians stated customer experience as important in deciding between different options. In addition, it also reported that globally people are willing to pay 16% more for a product or service if they enjoyed great customer experience. Obviously, we will need to add the loyalty factor as well if the product or service delivers the expected quality. In a nutshell, providing great customer experience pays!

Is there a secret sauce for serving the best customer experience? The answer is “Yes!”. One of the most common mistakes companies make in their effort to be a customer experience champion is over-reliance on technology. Technology is nothing more than a great enabler; it is not the silver bullet. Instead, it is the marriage between technology and staying human-centric. For example, in developing a mobile app, unless you have a clear understanding of when, where and why it would be used, it may not necessarily take off. Does it make sense to have an app for a physical workout that requires people to jump, squat, stretch? Probably not until wireless headphones were invented. Wired headphones restrict mobility. On this note, we begin the discussion of the steps needed to be a growth-centric customer experience brand with a call to focus on knowing your customers.

1. Up-close-and-personal

A keystone of design-thinking is the focus on getting up-close-and-personal with customers. It’s no longer acceptable for brands and businesses not to have a deep understanding of their customers. Nor is it acceptable not to validate the information you have about your target audience. There’s a mountain of data and a truckload full of research tools businesses can use now.

If you are serious about providing great customer experience, researching your target audience is part of the deal. Great customer experience isn’t an effort to mould customers into a prescribed behaviour. Rather, it is delivering what they want well or at least better than the competitor can. Customer experience strategies driven by insights of the target audience are destined to do well.

Footnote: Incorporating consumer research into your customer experience strategy communicates your ongoing commitment to serve them better. In the age of Industrial Revolution 4.0, our lives are constantly evolving. Keeping tabs of changes demonstrate a brand’s commitment to helping customers stay in step with changes around them.

2. Make innovation a brand quality

Complacency is the death knell of brands in today’s business environment. Blockbuster Video’s demise has been attributed to this; it isn’t because people no longer want to watch movies at home or the VCR/DVD player going obsolete. Rather, it was its failure to recognise the pervasiveness of IoT, more specifically streaming. From Netflix, Apple TV to Disney+, streaming is the preferred mode of home entertainment. And more recently Amazon announced it will be streaming live selected UEFA Champions League matches in Germany for the 2021/22 season. This should put major sports broadcasters in Europe on alert.

An important facet of great customer experience is the on-going effort to get better. It’s a trinity involving research-plan-activate. It’s human to expect more and better. People are constantly comparing. It’s not a new human behaviour; it just got easier to do. With the world at their fingertip, it’s easy to know where the greener pasture is. With the data you collected from the digital experiences you’re providing now, you should take the step to transform them into insights, ideas and innovation.

Footnote: Your innovation must be in inline with the brand footprint you’ve developed for the business. Going astray can kill the business as much as not doing anything will.

3. Keep your digital assets fresh and relevant

In the digital marketplace, your digital assets are the first points of contact customers have with your brands. A regularly optimised website has been reported to increase visits by 113%! That’s a good enough incentive for any business to regularly review their digital assets. After all, it is your storefront. Nothing can be a bigger turn off than a slow or outdated website design, blog page or Facebook page. Think of it this way: when you are shopping on the high street, aren’t you more likely to walk into a nice looking shop than one that looks grey?

Great customer experience is one a customer is willing to show and share with others, which includes your digital assets. It speaks a lot about themselves in as much as the brand. Making a customer proud to be associated with your brand is part of that great experience. When was the last time you reviewed your website?

The great customer experience race is on. There are no clear winners in Australia yet. It could be you. To learn how you can integrate technology and human-centricity in your customer experience to grow the business, call us today.

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