“…strive to have at least one signature experience that differentiates them (marketers) from the rest of the pack“- Mat Zucker, partner at Prophet. Having discussed signature customer experience in previous article, let us look at at few bare facts:
“By 2018, more than 50% of organizations will implement significant business model changes in their efforts to improve customer experience.” Customer Experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator by the year 2020.
Therefore, customer experience is clearly the new battlefield. Creativity and innnovation are new terms of engagement in this new battle of achieving signature customer experience.
Following are few powerful creative strategies to win the war of customer experience:
Target the entire customer journey
Signature moment is a cumulative task of reaching customer experience at all points of a customer’s life cycle from pre-sales to post delivery stage. When missed at a single point, it may make whole effort futile. Best-in-class companies optimize their customer journeys, not just touch points- McKinsey and Co.
Situation: A hotel may have offered lucrative price for a room and have made the booking procedure super easy. The payment and confirmation process was also speedy and the guests were welcomed warmly at the hotel reception on the check-in date. However, the check-in process took too long and an immediate status update on social media was posted with negative review. Despite a free upgrade later, the post had done its bit of damage to the brand. This situation depicts how crucial it is to maintain the customer experience through the entire journey of a customer.
Reach out and continue reaching out
Customer interaction should not be limited from presales to delivery / complaint resolution stage. It is important to keep in touch even after to build a formidable customer base and fortify customer loyalty simultaneously. Here, the efficacy of multi-channel communication through social media, product page, mobile app and other internet platforms are unsurpassed. Continuous interaction minimizes chances of negative review and augment chances of attaining signature customer experience. By 2020, the demand for an omnichannel customer experience will be amplified by the need for nearly perfect execution-PWC.
Situation: Trip cancellation by driver is a common problem shared by on-demand cab services. A customer who may have upgraded a ride to save time (instead of going by share) will feel upset or may be deceived by the cancellation. As a result, negative reviews online is a common vent out. At this point, timely communication from the cab company via phone, email or chat with proper apology and concession may go far in not just resolving the issue but also converting negative experience to a positive one. Also customer may be informed about new membership/ price drops through multi channel to keep them glued to the brand.
Educate customer creatively
Hyper informed customers due to their virtual presence across multiple channels are information hungry in making their product choice or business decision. This education will turn to motivation for them to arrive at purchase decision. 61% of customers are more likely to buy from companies that deliver custom content-McKinsey and Co.
Situation: In any online business, the website must be enlivened with blogs, webinar, campaigns, white papers, testimonials to draw customer attention and streamline prospects towards the right product. This also allows the customer to set their expectation right and rules out chances of false expectation (in terms of product guarantee, price policy, etc.). The outbound drives towards this , for instance, call to inform insurance schemes are redundant because they are unwanted forced fed educating efforts. Hence, more creative ways of education will more likely lead the customer to reach that wow moment.
Understand how customer behave
Customer Experience analytics allows company to gauge the difference between what customer say they want and how do they actually behave. Behaviour based personalization touches the emotional chord of customer and they feel valued to be customer of the brand. This entrenches customer loyalty in the brand by creating signature moments.
Situation: Andy may explicitly talk about discount preference but in practice has a colour bias. If personalized notification may reach Andy on new product arrival (based on wishlist or product purchase history) in the preferred colour, the customer will immediately feel special. This simple analytics renders the customer (Andy in this case) that moment leading her/him to refer the brand to more acquaintances or post a positive review online about the same.
Update yourself and update your customer
It is essential for any business to be continuously and timely updated about its internal show. Customer must be communicated the updates at each stage so as to pre-empt any confusion or negative feedback. Ignorance often have negative overtures about product.
Situation: A packing and moving company has a job continuously on the move. Apart from dismantling, packing, unpacking and fixing it has to undergo many offloads and onloads at multiple points as well as cover geographical distance. The customer who has availed the packing service is travelling at the same in apprehension of the state of delivery. S/he may end up making many inquiries to the company about the status of delivery. If not continuously updated, the company will have no answer apart from communicating that the “move is on progess”. Instead a continuous update system will not only keep the customer satisfied, but also minimize chances of delay or damage by the company. Hence, another signature moment may wait on the anvil.
“The more specific, the more terrific!” Creative personalized packaging of the physical product or receipt allows brand to connect to the customer at a new level. This particularly holds good during trial phase of the customer.
Situation: If an ecommerce is delivering a new baby product, a congratulatory message to the new parents will pleasantly delight the customer. They will stick on to this brand for future baby products even if the first one has arrived as a gift from a friend.
Feedback is your compass
Feedback is the report card of all businesses. The effort must be towards minimizing negative feedback and augment positive ones. However, both of them by their sheer absence makes the feedback system look concocted. The challenge here is to convert the negative feedback into positive ones which will definitely demonstrate the signature customer moment.
Situation: If a particular company has received a negative feedback, it must work on the complaint and immediately apologize to customer. On resolution of issue, an immediate response should reach customer. Similarly, for a positive review a thank you message may go miles in winning over customer loyalty. Continuous communication is the key, as discussed above.
Robots are cool but customers would rarely choose to have a conversation with them. In this humanely communication, if familiarity may be developed then it is sure to give the company that wow moment with customer. Not to forget, 89% of customers get frustrated because they need to repeat their issues to multiple representatives-Accenture.
Situation: Harry has ordered a pizza online. Next day he wishes to order another with more exotic flavour. On call, it is perhaps difficult for a machine to communicate with Harry on what could be a more exotic pizza from the restaurant by suggesting relevant add-ons or the right pizza. If the same call center representative who took his call the earlier day takes up his call, s/he would know Harry’s choice (the fact that he had ordered pizza) and this familiarity will go miles to reach that wow moment for Harry while re-ordering pizza.
Slash waiting time
Everyone’s busy and customers have limited attention span when making a purchase decision or waiting for a complaint resolution. 75% of online customers expect help within 5 minutes-McKinsey and Co.
Situation: On cab demand service often require you to wait for longer duration due to traffic, inability of driver to track the location, etc. In case of shared cab service, even the pick-up has happened before time, the ride can’t start before the app decided time. This leads to customer dissatisfaction. It is important to keep the customer occupied during this time. Here gamification with brownie points (discount, free rides, etc.) may come in handy making higher chances of achieving that Aha moment!
Build credibility with reports and survey
The multi-channel communication should not be used to optimize communication with the customer but also use them as data resource to leverage communication towards signature customer experience.
Situation: A customer has maintained a steady contact with an airline booking online company and had made many bookings. If a survey analysis may be made on basis of the email/ social media/ telephonic communication with the company then the company will understand the customer better and may guarantee a wow moment based on the history of his/her product behaviour.
Refer customers to your customer
Business expansion often rests on reciprocity of referrals. This holds true especially in the B2B scenario. For achieving signature customer experience, a company must look for opportunities to refer them to other clients or link them into your network.
Situation. Apart from product satisfaction, such referrals add to the customer experience f the current customer. This may be done by thanking customer with web traffic; linking their business on your website, including enthusiastic comments and your own testimonial, if applicable.
Mark the occasion
This is a step ahead in personalization. Customers must be made to feel like they are part of a big family. The thoughtful timing of recognition of a special occasion of customer (birthday, anniversary, new addition to family, etc.) communicates volumes and is a gesture that won’t soon be forgotten, paving way for that signature customer experience. 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated.”
Situation: A thoughtful message with a token gift (voucher, discount, etc.) to commemorate annual anniversary of customer’s first purchase will make the customer feel valued and will make them refer brand, consolidating their loyalty in it.
It may sound simple, but the most creative element is to be spontaneous and honest!
Beyond the multi-modal communication, the customized packaging, the analytics, and the updating system, there lies a sacrosanct truth: customers are humans, businessmen are humans too. Therefore, problems may be unprecedented and case-specific. Spontaneity is the key as it can only be a product of human brain, whatever be the scope and size of automation. It is only spontaneity that can surprise the customer creating the wow factor in customer experience. It is for the same reason that honesty must be demonstrated at all time. False promise and lofty expectation may lead to deception charges, forget negative review. A humane approach to humane problems are a must and perhaps this needs no exemplification.
Hope you found this piece useful. Go ahead and create your own signature customer moments! Let us know about your story about signature customer experience. Please be back soon for your next post as we try to solve few key riddles about customer experience.