Offering a good customer experience is synonymous with an increased engagement and economic performance, as confirmed by the research carried out by McKinsey, Forrester and KPMG.
So, how do you create a customer experience that leaves the customer satisfied? Which aspects should you concentrate on and invest in?
The answers lie in the research carried out by KPMG and Nunwood: L’era della Customer Experience – Come i brand creano esperienze di eccellenza (The Customer Experience Era – How Brands Create Excellent Experiences). In this report, levels of customer experience offered in Italy, the United Kingdom and the USA are compared, assessed on the basis of the Six Pillars, the indicators of excellence identified by KPMG.
From the survey, four fundamental components emerged, upon which the success of a brand’s customer experience hinges.
Technology should also be added to the above, which is not present in the report, but is just as important and common to the first four.
Let’s look at them in detail.
1. Creating an omnichannel experience
Your brand must be able to offer an omnichannel experience
- Because the customer expects it. They are used to moving between channels without even noticing the difference.
- Because there are too many touchpoints to cover just a few. You cannot know where people will go, and you need to be ready to receive them anywhere.
Do you have a website, three social media channels, a phone line and a shop? You must integrate the online and offline channels, aligning content, tone of voice and brand image.
Don’t forget that the user takes into account the ease of moving between them. For example, not having to register twice when moving from the official website to the customer services portal of the same brand is viewed very positively.
The starting point to create an omnichannel experience is making different departments work together, linking the online initiatives with the offline ones and vice versa. For example, the social media team and the events team can collaborate in the development of a physical event in-store, broadcast live on social media. The participants can post photos and comments, giving resonance to the initiative even among the audience that is not physically present.
2. Constructing a quality experience
The brand must offer an experience that differentiates itself from others and do so everywhere.
Let’s consider Amazon and its “pervasive orientation toward the customer”, a mantra that goes beyond geographical borders and guarantees customer satisfaction. Or, the experience offered by Apple stores that is based, anywhere in the world, on precise communication techniques that are to be adopted when speaking with a customer.
Defining procedures beforehand that all employees must follow when they interact with customers is a good starting point. Even making sales outlets similar in terms of furnishing, however, can help the customer to feel at home, even if they are on the other side of the world.
To ensure the quality of the experience being offered, it is a good idea to establish standards (in terms of communication, courtesy and cleanliness) and make sure that they are respected.
Some of the stores that are able to offer the best customer experiences are based precisely on the creation of well-defined experiences that are the same everywhere. I’m thinking of free and assisted product trials (Decathlon); the restaurant that is experienced as a kind of music museum, where you can look for the instruments or clothing of your idols (Hard Rock Café); the clothes store that becomes an opportunity for souvenir photos (Abercrombie). People like going back to places where they have had a good experience and, going into one of these stores, they already know that their expectations will not be disappointed.
3. Offering a personalized experience
The personalization of the experience is a key aspect for an effective customer experience.
The brand must get to know each customer in depth in order to understand
- what is the best way to interact with them;
- which subject matters and products interest them, and which don’t.
Netflix is one of the most famous examples, but companies from all industries – online and offline – are equipping themselves to propose tailored offers, implementing algorithms that study people and recommend suitable content for them.
It is becoming necessary to offer each individual a dedicated customer experience. But how do you get to know your customers?
On the one hand, the brand must discover its customer’s characteristics: What are their interests? What needs must be met? How would it like to satisfy them?
On the other hand, it must make itself known to the customer in the most appealing way possible. Which of my products / services are suitable for that customer? Which is the best channel to communicate with them? What shouldn’t I show them?
Only by combining this information will we be able to obtain a full picture of the brand-customer relationship. The company will then be able to adapt itself to the needs of individuals, focusing not so much on its own product proposal, but more on customer demand.
If a brand is promoting its latest model of electric broom but comes across Mario who is interested in drum vacuum cleaners, it is advisable to propose the latter, even though they are not the company’s flagship product.
Suggesting products and services that are in line with actual customer expectations will result in the company increasing its engagement.
4. Being empathetic
Empathy is a characteristic that we are used to attributing to people: How can a brand be empathetic? Thanks to the people who are behind it.
To create memorable experiences, it is fundamental for employees to relate to customers, not just in an educated manner, but also by putting themselves in their shoes.
A sales assistant who understands a customer’s doubts regarding a product will be able to offer more credible and convincing explanations and advice, because they are genuine, compared with one who limits themselves to “promoting” what they are selling.
Therefore, the first people who should be engaged by a brand are the employees themselves. Some initiatives that a company may organize include training workshops, conventions and the creation of an online community. Here, employees are considered people whose experiences and opinions are to be endorsed, in order to create a positive working experience that also has an impact on end customers.
In this way, they will be able to have an empathetic approach toward customers and engage them in turn because they really believe in what they are selling.
5. Taking advantage of technology: the fifth component.
The four components described above are strategic in creating a successful customer experience. However, they too can be strengthened in turn using technology.
Content Intelligence represents an optimal solution. Indeed, it integrates features in a single tool that
- Centralize content in a single hub from which it is then transmitted.
- Streamline internal processes to make end-user services more immediate.
- Combine information collected online and in physical touchpoints to develop a unique customer view.
- Analyze the behavior of users with regard to content via artificial intelligence.
- Send each individual Calls to Action and content that are relevant to their actual interests.
Obviously, technology helps, but it cannot replace the human relationship between the brand and the customer. This must be nurtured through the dedication of all company staff members. So, all these five components together can make a difference in your CX!