Today’s customers expect the same level of service and experience that they receive from global leaders such as Amazon, Google and Apple. According to research and studies at McKinsey, 75% of consumers expect companies to respond to their calls, messages or chats within five minutes. More and more of them expect to find what they need effortlessly on a company’s website and request services such as free shipping, free return, trustworthy product/service reviews, etc., from companies across all industries.
Traditionally, this kind of experience would mostly happen in a physical store. A knowledgeable sales rep would answer customer questions, recommend the perfect product and even make suggestions for alternative solutions that the customer hadn’t even thought of.
Nowadays, customers take their questions and inquiries online before even talking to a sales rep. In many cases, the online experience is sufficient for them to decide whether to make a purchase without “talking” to anyone.
Companies recognize the importance of creating a compelling consumer experience within their digital marketing strategy. But many quickly realize that a start-to-end consumer experience is complicated to implement and that consumers are becoming harder to impress.
Over the years, we have explored various ways that companies can break down some of the challenges regarding the overall consumer experience into smaller issues. Below are three highly practical methods that can help simplify your approach to the complex consumer digital experience.
1. Experience It As Your Customers Do
When being asked the fundamental question of how to improve customer experience marketing, companies often answer from the customer service perspective. They refer to tactics to improve the customer call quality and the consumer survey results.
The issue with this view is that customer service is measured on a single channel regarding a single touchpoint — a product demo, an online ordering experience, a tech support call, etc. Customer experience, on the other hand, involves multiple channels and various touch points. Improving single touchpoints is very important but is not always effective in identifying the root cause.
For example, a client of ours had a very strong customer satisfaction score for their tech support ticketing system, but also a high churn rate after a three-month subscription period.
As we investigated the issue, we discovered that while most customers said their issues were solved after contacting tech support via a ticket, they did not like the system. It randomly assigned techs who lacked knowledge regarding the account or previous issues the client had.
So, what can companies do to effectively assess and understand the overall customer experience? We have found it is important to go through the entire customer journey from the customer’s point of view. You can achieve this by conducting in-depth focus group interviews, secret shopper programs, observation recording and other bottom-up and data-driven analysis.
2. Sequence Pain Points With Pleasure Moments
The initial assessment can reveal specific elements and events that affect customer frustration and satisfaction. However, you may not see an immediate improvement in customer satisfaction after investing in eliminating some of the pain points. And that can be very disappointing.
Some of the pain points are difficult to resolve and almost every company in your industry shares the same issues, yet some brands receive more positive recognition than others. In those cases, you might want to look into the principles of behavioral psychology to improve on marketing the consumer experience.
In short, what that means is the sequence of these pain points and pleasure moments can influence how customers experience and form their opinions about the interactions with your brand.
One effective tactic is to sequence a particular pain point with a “pleasure moment.” This is common practice in dealing with customer complaints: provide an unexpectedly nice gift, service or discount after a negative experience. By replacing a disappointing experience with a good one, companies can create a positive memory of the brand in consumers’ minds.
Additionally, in understanding this psychological principle, it is critical for companies to ensure the last interaction is a pleasant one, as the final touch point has a disproportionate influence on consumers’ perception of the experience.
3. Reinforce The Positive Emotional Attachment With An Effective Loyalty Program
For years, research and studies have shown that the most effective way to create brand loyalty is to connect with your customers on an emotional level. When your customers feel special, motivated or successful, they buy more from you, pay less attention to your pricing, follow your advice and recommend you to others.
Therefore, the benefits of your loyalty program should appeal to the brain (rational) and the heart (emotional) of your customers. The rational benefits are often point systems and monetary rewards. And the emotional benefits may mean access to a community of people similar to them, a donation to a cause they care about or exclusive experience and recognition.
By implementing an emotionally connected loyalty program in every interaction with your customers, you are convincing them that your company “gets” them.
There is a great opportunity for companies to move into a leadership position by delighting their customers. Developing and executing a comprehensive customer experience marketing strategy is challenging, but it is an essential requirement for competing in today’s marketplace.