In an increasingly connected world, a high-quality and efficient customer experience is more important than ever
And customers expect their experience to be seamless, digital, and hassle-free — emphasis on “digital.”
Businesses now find themselves in the midst of a fourth industrial revolution – the proliferation of next-generation technologies – where the growth of the cloud economy has made accessibility and shareability of resources instantaneous. This means customers will not tolerate slow or clunky processes from brands. As technology moves on, so too must the experience of the customer.
Whilst it’s clear that there is an appetite from customers for a digital journey that is designed with the customer in mind, not every business is finding it easy to build a customer experience in the cloud economy. Outlined below, are the three major problems facing businesses looking to build a customer experience in the cloud economy as well as solutions to those problems.
Customers expect to interact with your business wherever, whenever, and on whichever device they prefer
Customers don’t want the way they interact with a business to be dictated to them and fully expect to be able to access services on the device that suits them at that moment. If not, they’ll turn off or potentially turn to a competitor who will do so instead.
Failing to provide a quality mobile experience for your customers is fatal. In fact, 85% of customers suggest they are unlikely to ever forgive a poor mobile experience. While most companies have focused on optimising their general web platforms they haven’t made enough use of mobile opportunities. A well-crafted mobile experience creates customers anywhere, anytime, and has the potential to make a world of difference when it comes to the customer journey.
Whilst providing a strong mobile experience is an important baseline in building a digital customer experience, that alone is insufficient. In today’s world, time is at a premium; a customer might browse a product on their phone during their commute and then choose to buy the product on their desktop later. Equally, a customer might register a complaint on Twitter via their mobile, but expect to pursue that same complaint further down the line via email or over the phone without issue. And seamless, multi-channel support that can bend to the will of the customer is vital for building a digital customer experience.
The traditional marketing model isn’t working
One of the most common mistakes made by businesses trying to build an effective digital customer experience in the cloud economy, is trying to tweak outdated solutions – wasting both time and money. Many businesses are still trying to sell to customers the same way they always have been and are wondering why they’re seeing diminishing returns. But if customers are not browsing or buying in the same way – then why market to them in the same way?
Advertising alone no longer produces the results it did a few years ago, which has left some companies in a state of flux with their marketing approach. Unfortunately, many businesses are persevering with traditional marketing methods, placing their emphasis solely on advertising, rather than considering the other factors that influence customer decision making. With recent research revealing that only 33% of customers trust ads compared to 90% trusting the recommendation of peers, the importance of impressing customers with a quality digital experience is there for all to see. Driving traffic towards your site is not useful if visitors find the experience to be unsatisfactory once they get there.
Customers expect a more personalised customer experience than ever before
Having a full understanding of the customer journey and making the most of every potential touch point enables more personalisation and greater customer retention, but many businesses lack the interconnectedness of the systems that provide this complex view of customers.
At Appirio, we categorise the quality and interconnectedness of a company’s customer experience strategy into four quadrants; one being a fragmented, ‘throw as much as you can and hope it sticks’ type approach, all the way up to a four; which is customer experience nirvana.
The aim is to get all businesses that we work with into quadrant four and to create a two-way conversation between the company and the customer. This ensures 2 things: first, that you are providing your customer with a personal experience, pre-emptively meeting their needs; second, full visibility over the customer journey with a focus on the data, allowing you to evolve and innovate your customer experience in a meaningful way, based on empirical evidence. This is achievable when the front-end customer experience is sophisticated, consistent, clear, and fully connected to all backend systems, providing the best possible experience for the customer.
The major obstacles that prevent businesses from building a successful customer experience in the cloud economy all stem from a lack of knowledge. Providing the best customer experience is about discovering how customers behave and working out the best way to facilitate them. Once you have that, you can work out a way to bring those findings together in a way that services the customer on their own terms.
About the Author
Greg Bohlen is Senior Director for Strategy & Digital at Appirio. Greg has been at Appirio for 4 years and currently operates as the Senior Director for Strategy & Digital. Whilst Greg’s primary focus is CRM and cloud technology, his experience spans a wide range of corporate functions including Business Analysis, Business Systems & ERP, Category Management, Customer & Channel Management, Marketing Research, Pricing & Contracts, Sales Effectiveness and Supply Chain.