Customer experience is a concept that has become increasingly popular the last years. By understanding what is causing this change, companies can better predict future shifts and develop their offerings accordingly.
Greater focus on customer experience
Until recently, many companies did not work strategically with customer experience. Today, the focus is shifting. Instead of considering only two points of contact with the customer: the product and/or service offering and the communication, many companies take a more holistic approach to brand building. Increasingly, managers are realizing the importance of working strategically with the customer experience. Why has this shift occurred? We have identified three main forces behind it, and will discuss what they mean for companies.
Force 1: Brands and consumers are present in more channels
Both consumers and brands are increasing their digital presence, meaning brands are being seen and perceived across more channels. This is putting greater demands on companies’ ability to coordinate brand building activities across channels. However, this also provides the company with the opportunity to manage all channels, such as advertising, stores and customer service, as a portfolio of touch points with customers. Each channel can be used to communicate one of several key messages that help build the brand in line with the overall strategy. For example: if a company’s goal is to increase perceived brand transparency, then direct and personal communication through a Snapchat account can help the company seem more human and personal. Similarly, the company’s website will likely be best suited to house a digital tool that allow customers to track the products’ environmental impact throughout the production.
Force 2: Brands need to be more relevant to motivate consumers to spend time with them
We are seeing that consumers increasingly make decisions based on how to maximize one of their scarcest resources: time. More and more consumers are choosing products and services that help them save time, or that help maximize the experiences they choose to spend time on. Today, consumers have access to a growing number of offerings online, often through platforms that are owned by third-party retailers or social media rather than the brand itself. As a result, companies increasingly need to offer something more to motivate consumers to spend time with the brand. This is where an engaging customer experience can be the difference between maintaining the customer relationship and losing it to the platform where the transaction occurs.
Force 3: If your brand does not offer the desired experience, others will
Today, consumers have the possibility to interact with many different brands in several different channels. This means that they have a greater ability to compare offerings across brands. For example: a consumer that has had a convenient and rewarding interaction with their insurance company will have higher expectations on the next contact with a bank or travel agency. If a brand fails to live up to these expectations, for example because it lacks a website that is optimized for mobile, the discrepancy will cause a frustration with the consumer. At this point, other brands with more engaging customer experience is usually just a scroll away.
Customer experience becomes increasingly important
Together, these forces are creating a greater sense of urgency as well as the opportunity for for companies to innovate their customer experience. It will become increasingly important for companies to build a customer experience that strengthens the brand and motivates the customer to engage with it.