High expectations in customer experience
Henry Ford once said “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Achieving a good customer experience (CX) is a fine line that comes down to building what the customer wants and building what might solve a problem the customer doesn’t yet know they have.
When companies focus on CX, they are able to create a unique and differentiated offering that is hard to replicate. This, in turn, leads to increased customer loyalty and brand equity.
The pandemic has forced people to practice social distancing and stay at home, which has led to a drop in offline channel sales. In contrast, the pandemic has pushed consumers to shop primarily online.
What customers know they want is consistently fast and reliable CX.
According to the report The future of customer experience: 2022, customers expect companies to respond to their questions within the first hour, provide a personalized experience, be proactive in offering help, and be accessible on all devices and social media platforms that customers prefer by the end of this year. During the study, Freshworks surveyed over 4,500 companies and analyzed 107 million customer interactions to understand the top driver of customer satisfaction.
“It’s hard to predict a user’s journey. They might see an advertisement on Instagram, go to the website, chat with an agent, visit a physical store before finally making a purchase, and then take to social media to share their experiences. They expect to be able to switch channels at any time during their journey,” the report states.
The benefits of meeting customers where they are most comfortable are clear. For example, the service booking platform Klook saw its customer base increase by 40%. Sixty-eight percent of WhatsApp users believe the platform is the most convenient way to engage with a brand.
Additionally, 61% of customers admire companies that use a smart mix of self-service and humans who can support them with empathy and speed.
To deliver a great customer experience, businesses must keep up with ever-changing customer expectations. This is where Customer Experience Management (CEM) comes in. CEM is a process that helps businesses track and manage customer experience that helps businesses deliver an exceptional customer experience by understanding the needs and customer expectations and designing customer-centric processes.
Jason Wong, Distinguished Vice President and Analyst of the Software Design and Development Team at Gartner, said design teams should lead the load to ensure excellent CX, but many organizations don’t allocate enough resources to this, especially those that haven’t started. as a digital native.
“The design also needs to be ongoing to really understand the implications of not just behavior patterns, application usage patterns, but also consideration of new technologies that may come along, whether it’s Web XR, chat, or IoT, and then think how do we actually create value here?” Wang said. “It’s something that very few companies do well.
It’s the digital native teams that use rapid prototyping and A&B testing in production environments to see what the differences are. On the other hand, in traditional companies that are moving from project-centric delivery to product-centric delivery, design is often not yet as embedded within teams, and also not at a strategic enough where they do this ongoing user research and analysis. to return to production, but also to test new concepts upstream, according to Wong.
“A big part of the problem is proving the value of UX; like how do you show that if we’re not doing that UX, we’re not getting that value? So it’s difficult for many organizations to invest heavily in UX,” Wong added.
The skills needed within a UX team also differ depending on the complexity of the application. At the top of these design teams is usually the experience manager who has a wide range of skills to help a product team. Thus, the experience seeker is there to understand the user. They don’t just do interviews, but almost like anthropologists, they go out and observe in nature, what is happening and identify motivations.
“They find out, for example, why mobile field technicians are always hesitant to use their mobile applications in the field, and wait to return to the depot or warehouse to enter their information? Maybe it’s because they had dirty hands? Like, these are things that the experience seeker would pick up. So instead of giving it a GUI, we have to activate it with voice. or maybe we should make it a head-mounted display: a Google Glass or a HoloLens or something, so they have hands-free access,” Wong said. “So those are the kinds of things that need to be done up front, but also on an ongoing basis as new technologies emerge. It is therefore no longer a single application. Often we go from one experience to another digital experience.
Often the design aspect of building applications is outsourced and organizations hire a design agency to come in and help with user research. But that can be flawed because the company has to take it upon itself to understand the users and understand the process going on, Wong explained.
Reliability is the biggest consideration for good CX
Good CX can mean a lot of things, but the biggest part of it is making sure your app works as intended in the first place, according to Mehdi Daoudi, CEO and co-founder of Catchpoint.
Customers now expect applications to be more reliable than ever. If an app crashes, it’s now considered a reflection of the company behind the app, not just the app itself.
“Let’s say you have to take Uber three times a day because you have to drop the kids off at school, go to work, and then hire another Uber in the afternoon at 3 p.m. So the concept of reliability is how good are you at delivering a great user experience all day, 365 days a year? Daoudi said.
Today, customer expectations are extremely high, regardless of the type of application they are on.
“We work with a few luxury brands these days, and it’s interesting that some have said to us, ‘well, our customers are special. They don’t care about performance. In fact, you know, your customers, like all other customers, are used to Google and Amazon. And they’re used to a great user experience, which is a fast user experience. The reason Amazon is so good, or Shopify is so good, is because they fundamentally care about speed performance. And that’s the name of the game,” Daoudi added.
One approach is to not put all eggs in one basket and opt instead to run an application on a hybrid cloud. Another way to improve reliability is to invest in the monitoring and visibility of its application, but also to ensure that the tools are used in the right way.
Businesses need to start measuring their performance and then set goals like how to reduce traffic on an e-commerce site from one minute to just five seconds. Some companies like Shopify do a great job of this. They have development experience teams constantly monitoring, Daoudi added.
The performance space is also a great place for marketing and engineering teams to collaborate and avoid implementing something that might seem like a hallmark of better CX but in fact would affect performance.
“What you don’t want is to add 15 tracking pixels, for example, to slow down the site or I’ve seen this a few times where the graphics team gives an image to a 10MB file because it’s looks nice, but hey, 10 meg is a bit too much for a website. I mean no one has a screen that can take full advantage of these things,” Daoudi said.
CX is also a good employee experience
Many applications now have a dual purpose: to serve the customer but also to make it easy for employees to know what customers want.
“With the interaction between a customer and a customer service rep, you have your mobile app, you have your web portal for the customer. And then, in the background, you have the help desk system for the rep But it interfaces in the portal and in the chatbot.
And not only do you need the information to be in sync, but you also need the employee’s ability to understand the context very quickly,” Gartner’s Wong said.
Additionally, the use of smart bots and AI can automate, predict customer behavior, and scale customer services. Businesses are beginning to realize that bots can help effectively track customer requests by personalizing their customers’ experience and can improve the employee experience. According to the Future of CX: 2022 report, brands reported a 7% increase in customer satisfaction scores (CSATs) due to successful bot implementations.
While consumer-facing bots are common, new agent-assistant bots come with AI features such as process automation for repetitive support tasks or item suggestions for next steps customers must follow.
AI in customer experience is now able to analyze data and find correlations that a human might not be able to discern. For example, a human customer service agent may not be able to tell that a customer requesting a refund is more likely to buy a product in the future if they receive their refund quickly. But an AI system can analyze the data and come to that conclusion.
Additionally, AI can automate customer support tasks like answering simple questions and responding to customer requests. This frees up human customer support agents to handle more complex issues. AI can also be used to proactively reach out to customers who are at risk of unsubscribing. For example, an AI system can analyze a customer’s purchase history and support interactions to identify when a customer is unhappy. The AI system can then proactively contact the customer to try to resolve the issue before the customer decides to unsubscribe.