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4 Lessons From Walt Disney To Improve Customer Experience

4 Lessons From Walt Disney To Improve Customer Experience

"What was the most magical experience of your life?"

Ask this question to random people on the street and the name ‘Disney’ will probably come out more than any other. It’s a matter of fact: the Disney brand - and its theme parks above all - is deeply linked with the idea of incredible and memorable experiences. So maybe you should ask to Mickey Mouse & Co. how to improve customer experience.

Despite all the controversy surrounding Walt Disney, there is no doubt that he had a clear - and somewhat ahead of time - business vision. In his picture, on the one hand he saw a place where adults and children could see their fantasies come alive and have fun together; on the other hand he predicted the importance of happy customers as key factor to create a successful company.

If you can dream it, you can do it. Always remember this whole thing was started by a mouse.

How can you build a meaningful brand? You don’t want customers to buy your product or service once and for all; you want them to come back, become faithful and loyal supporters, and share the good vibes with relatives and friends, so that they can become customers too. The only way to reach this goal is to focus all your efforts on people and become obsessed by the quality of your customer experience.

Great storytelling plus unforgettable experiences: this is, in a few words, the most critical lesson Disney still teaches to all other businesses, day after day. In order to understand what people want and need, you must get out there, be willing to listen (even the questions you don’t want to hear), and finally institutionalize an approach of continuous learning and improvement to deliver the best customer journey possible.

The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.

As the years pass by, we find ourselves increasingly involved in a digital ecosystem, influenced and altered by disruptive devices - the smartphone, virtual reality headsets, even the smartwatch. Our experience as customers becomes a melting pot of analog and digital moments; even traditional and old-style companies, thus, are forced to rethink their strategies to involve and engage the new empowered client.

At the heart of Disney brand we still find the values shaped long ago by uncle Walt; through the decades, though, managers and marketers have proved the ability to adapt the ‘how’ without touching the ‘why’ and ‘what’: improve the strategy to keep pace with digital transformation while staying true to the true core belief of the founder.

Storytelling and strong identity are, no doubt, the roots of a brand nearly one hundred years old. But that’s not all: there are at least 4 other lessons from Walt Disney, to increase retention and build a better customer experience.

IT'S ALL ABOUT THE CUSTOMER

You don’t build it for yourself. You know what the people want and you build it for them.

Whatever you do or plan to do, you should always consider the customer first. It's not by coincidence if the first step of inbound marketing is the creation of your business buyer personas: if you don’t know who you’re talking to, you are likely talking to none. That means you’re only wasting time and money.

ALWAYS EXCEED EXPECTATIONS

Whatever you do, do it well. Do it so well that when people see you do it they will want to come back and see you do it again and they will want to bring others and show them how well you do what you do.

When adults and children enter the magic kingdom of Disney, they feel like dreaming. And dreams always far exceed reality. This is a lesson for you: never settle for less than what your customers deserve. Give them what they need it, wherever they are, across all touch points. Adopt a proactive approach to answer before they even ask for your help.

NEVER-ENDING OPTIMIZATION

I don’t want the public to see the world they live in while they’re in the Park.  I want to feel they’re in another world.

Long-lasting success always lies in the details. We all know the absolute obsession Walt Disney had for every single detail, in movies as in theme parks. You should have the same obsession and willingness to optimize products, identity, service, channels, online and mobile presence. In hyper-competitive markets, you only lose when you stop experimenting.

A BRAND IS MADE OF PEOPLE

You can design and create, and build the most wonderful place in the world. But it takes people to make the dream a reality.

When you connect with a company, the only aspect of the business you see is employees. Walt Disney was well-aware of the relevance of employees to drive and share core values. Company’s culture is always a shared purpose, and the front line is your bottom line: there is no real change without employee engagement. Your workers are your first customers.

Do you truly understand what customers want? Clients will want to return only if you can offer an incredible overall experience. Whether you are a traditional retailer, an E-Commerce firm, a B2B company or a digital brand, unleash the child and embrace the power of magic. Because magic is timeless, indeed.


To help you ensure a strategic advantage to your organization, learn about the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation.Download DCX 7-Steps Checklist
Topics: Digital Customer Experience Branding Archetypes Storytelling Content Marketing Mobile

Make The Digital Customer Experience Of You Your One Big Thing

Make_The_Digital_Customer_Experience_Of_You_Your_One_Big_Thing

Among the innumerable truths that Shakespeare told us in his vision of life and humanity, in Hamlet he offered one of his sagest counsels: “Know thyself and to thine self be true.

If you don’t understand what makes you uniquely you – if you don’t know yourself – how can others perceive your greatness, your unique and distinctive value and contribution? Make the digital customer experience of you your One Big Thing.

For professionals and companies, being the distinctive exception means delivering value to your clients or customers. And while more in general you are the sum total of your genetics and environment plus your personal push, I’m more interested here in understanding how you move past your genetics and environment to chart a course that brings out your potential for genius and unique contribution to society.

You, as most of the people, have a huge unused potential. Look at any young child at play and you will see a genius at work. It is estimated that 98% of five years olds score higher in the creative genius range on standardized tests. By age 10, only 32% achieve this. Where has all the genius gone?

Some researchers believe that the capacity for genius is actively programmed out of us as we advance through formal education. By teaching us to conform at every step of our development, society is cutting away those brain synapses, which form the basis for the creative genius you were. As an adult, the paths you choose are limited by this earlier cutting.

Nature, nurture and navigation — instead of working together to create unique individuals with vast potential — work in opposition to each other, creating adults with vast amounts of unused potential that are just about average.

But what does this mean to you today? Is it too late to change your potential and leverage the huge innovation that has been made available to make the difference? The answer is yes and no.

You cannot do a great deal to change how nature or nurture have framed your essence, but you can master today’s navigation choices. And you can answer a first big questions: “What am I supposed to do with my life?” Where do I excel and what could I be “the best in the world at doing?” This question addresses your primary strengths.

If you can answer this first big question, you are on track to finding your purpose in life – your “One Big Thing”.

The second big question is “How do I get noticed?” – that is, “How do I get my voice heard?”, “How do I get my One Big Thing on the other people’s radar?”, “How can I deliver the best digital customer experience of me?” This second big question is as important as the first. You may know what your purpose should be, but unless you stand out from the crowd, in a world where it is increasingly difficult to do so, your One Big Thing will never become a reality.

Discover your One Big Thing, your special purpose – the niche that is perfect for you – so you don’t waste your years going up and down like a jojo devoting your precious time to other’s matter that do not interest you, if not to take home a salary; but we both know that this may not be enough.

When you discover your purpose and take active steps to pursue it, you will become filled with energy, determination and courage. You will jump out of bed each morning, ready to take charge of the day. Your life will have renewed meaning.

And once you’ll have find you One Big Thing, or it will have found you, take care of Your Personal Brand, as the express checkout for you to live your life at ever increasing speed. Your personal brand should communicate something singular. Every aspect of your life and biography should support your brand. To build your brand, remember:

  • Visibility is just as important as ability” – you may be extremely talented at what you do and have a clear, meaningful One Big Thing, but if people don’t know about you or your purpose, you will never achieve your dreams.
  • You can’t brand a lie” – Be authentic. People will sense when your brand and identity do not align.
  • In a media-driven culture, being different is everything” – No one is exactly like you. Celebrate and promote your uniqueness. Communicate who you are and what makes you special.

As Helen Keller, blind and deaf American author, used to say: “Life is either a great adventure or it’s nothing.

Be epic. Make the digital customer experience of you your One Big Thing.

 

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If you don't know who you are and what makes you special, you won't be able to build a compelling customer experience. To help you ensure a strategic advantage to your organization, learn about the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation.Download DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Innovation Branding Archetypes Storytelling Content Marketing

The Future of Shopping: Retail Customer Experience Goes Mobile

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Retail is dead, long live retail. In the next months customers will be in the mood to shop, even in those countries still struggling to overcome the consequences of a long economic and financial crisis. People want to spend, it’s just how and where they spend that is deeply changing.

The future of shopping gets caught between social and technological changes, and one thing looks clear: this is the end of retail customer experience as we know it.

Forecasts agree that - while undergoing a necessary evolution - the retail industry will generate a robust annual growth in 2015. As usual, the U.S. market will lead the way: the National Retail Federation projects retail industry sales to an increase of 4.1 percent; non-store sales, in addition, will show even better growth rates (between 7 and 10 percent just for 2015).  

The rest of the world will follow, sooner or later. According to the 2015 Global Powers of Retailing, Embracing Innovation report from Deloitte, “the prosperity of the global retail sector in 2015 will very much depend on the economic stability of several of the largest economies”. China and the Eurozone have had a particularly tough 2014 but many indicators point to the likelihood of strong growth in 2015 and beyond.

WHERE IS RETAIL HEADED?

This is the tough question: surrounded and shaken by new technologies, how will retail evolve? It is evident that in-store purchases won’t disappear anytime soon: despite the fact that online and mobile shopping keep growing every year at a faster pace, it’s still brick-and-mortar retail that dominates customer spending all over the world.

Smartphone penetration rates increase, E-Commerce firms spread and evolve, but people still love to walk and wander into a physical store. What makes it so special? Not the product itself, nor the price. When competitors with better prices and a broader range of products are just a click away, the retail customer experience becomes the key differentiator for brands.

It’s much more easy to click on a ‘buy’ button on a smartphone, and for traditional brick-and-mortars the only answer is to evolve into something less traditional. Whatever technology solution you implement, your only chance to survive is to offer truly amazing and unique in-store experiences.

WHAT CUSTOMERS WANT

Marketers seem well-aware of the importance of a great customer experience but, more often than not, what has been achieved in reality lags behind the goals which have been announced. Let’s get back to data: a recent report by Econsultancy and IBM shows a huge gap between brands’ intentions and customers' real perception:

  • 81% of consumer brands say they have a working holistic view of their customers;

  • Most customers don't feel understood by brands - only 37% say their favourite retailer understands them.

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The reinvention of store starts from the need to blend analog and digital into a new, and most complete, experience. A handful of retailers have already tried a smooth transition from physical store to online and - finally - to a seamless omni-channel experience. They confirm something that Forrester has stated in a report entitled - not by coincidence - The Future of Shopping:

The retail industry is more complex than ever. Every year, startups release new technologies that promise to help customers shop more easily or aim to help retailers improve their businesses. At the same time, customers are changing. Digital natives are now sought-after shoppers with disposable income and retailers are nervous that these consumers are capricious and demanding, with unique expectations for products, customer service, and payments”.

THE NEW RETAIL

Economic trends plus the evolution of disruptive technologies create a new powerful generation customer and force retailers to reinvent the store as an experience. The only way to attract, involve and delight the digital natives (the so-called millennials) is to bridge the physical experience of buying into a store and the online journey experienced across their mobile devices.

It could be useful, then, to make a list of the possible evolutions that will disrupt the retail industry in the years to come:

  • From brick to click to brick: the challenge of E-Commerce will force traditional retailers to think and act digital first, shaping a mobile friendly presence. They will rely strongly on social media for customer service, and on gamification for engagement management.

  • The brand new shopping: back from click to brick, retailers will build a new identity for the physical store, tearing down the four concrete walls and connecting with mobile devices. Starting with customer-facing apps, digital showrooms and advanced loyalty programs.

  • Self-directed purchasing: personalization is the keyword to understand how customers want to live the shopping experience. iBeacons, push notifications and the Internet of Things make the perfect companion for context-aware content. Loyalty will matter more than sales. Geo-fencing is the essence of proximity marketing.

The future of shopping will be shaped by technology but will ultimately depend on whether retail brands are able to understand the new rules of the Age of the Customer, embrace the challenge of digital transformation and finally deliver a better customer experience.

 

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 4 Ways To Improve Your Fashion Digital Customer Experience

As practical advice: if you want to connect with your customers 
in a whole new way discover Neosperience Engage, the end-to-end mobile marketing solution to turn on smartphones like magic and deliver personalized experiences to customers close to, or inside the store.

Discover Neosperience Engage

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Future Branding Retail Content Marketing Mobile Internet of Things

5 Reasons You Really Need a Mobile Friendly Website

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April 21th, 2015: ready, set, go! Google is ready to launch the ill-famed mobile friendly update, the new algorithm that will change the destiny of all brands and businesses involved in the mobile space.

The so-called ‘Mobilegeddon’ will make it mandatory to optimize your online presence for mobile users. And if you’re not mobile-savvy, you will likely fall down and become untraceable for customers. 

Google is the number one player in the search engine arena, with over 75% of all worldwide searches coming from the Big G box. Actually, you don't really need any other reason than this, to go mobile-firstThe new algorithm will review the overall search engine indexing mechanism (starting from online searches) and will ultimately reward websites that are fully optimised for mobile with higher rankings in the results page.

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It is widely accepted that 2015 will see mobile search reach the tipping point, that is the stage at which the majority of organic traffic and paid clicks will come from smartphones and tablets, finally surpassing desktop and laptop computers. Three statistics help us understand where both markets and customers are headed:

  • 80% users say the smartphone is their favorite device to search the Internet (Global Web Index);

  • 48% of all online searches now start from the search engines, making them the most common starting point for mobile research (Google Think Insights);

  • Tablet and iPad show a higher conversion rate and visit share than desktop computers, and even the smartphone (thanks to bigger screens) is rapidly bridging the gap (Monetate).

Add that 60% of all traffic for Google already comes from mobile devices, and you’ll understand why people at Mountain View is pressing for a change in the search rules. The final aim is to make search engine even more useful to people, whether they use their smartphone or their laptop (and soon their smartwatch). How? By training Googlebot to search like humans would do and reproduce their user experience.

To understand why the new algorithm is critical, you need to go back to the basic question of marketing for the Age of the Customer: "Who am I doing it for?". Are you building your mobile presence for mobile's sake, just because everybody is doing it? Or - way better - because you're well-aware that the customer today is the core of business? Just think about it: a mobile friendly website is just the level zero of a revolutionary new paradigm centered on customer-facing apps.

Semantic search has been around for a while now, and the future will bring a more restricting algorithm for companies that offer a faulty experience to mobile customers. The next steps are so evident they hurt: Google is outlawing non responsive design (or at least adaptive), text too small to read, links too close together to tap, and software that is not common on mobile devices (did you say Flash?).

As offline and online blend to create an omni-channel journey, the smartphone becomes integral part of the customer experience. Thereby, the only answer for all companies, even the small ones (mobile devices are the first tool to search for local business), is to adapt their online identity for the new era. Starting from the calling card, the website.

In a world where everything runs fast, customers hate to waste time and competitors are willing to fill all open holes. Just think about this: roughly 57% of all mobile users readily leave a website if it takes more than three seconds to load; 30% will stop a transaction if E-Commerce shopping cart is not optimized for mobile devices. Obviously, this means that you will be hurting yourself if you don’t optimize for mobile-friendliness.

So, here’s why you should invest in mobile friendly optimization immediately:

  1. Be customer-centric: the first and most critical factor. If you offer a good customer experience across all devices, bots and crawlers will love you too;

  2. Get qualified traffic: people use mobile devices wherever they are, to look for product/service info. Conversion rates for mobile users are skyrocketing.

  3. Convert more leads: you can have the best products and unmissable deals, but if your page is not optimized for mobile and your call to action hard to find, you won’t convert easy leads.

  4. Improve ranking: there is no doubt at all that mobile is the future of search. Rankings will be increasingly determined by the mobile factor. If your site is not optimized, your ranking will suffer, and so will your brand quality perception.

  5. Shrink bounce rate: one of the key analytics metrics, bounce is the rate at which visitors leave your website. It mostly happens when the page is not optimized. When that happens, you are giving away customers to your competitors.

The new algorithm may not show its consequences immediately, but don't make the mistake of neglecting the mobile area of digital marketing. In the Google era, the naked truth can be summed up in one single sentence: if you disappear from search engine results pages, you will - more than likely - soon also disappear from customers’ mind. Do you really wish to face this unpleasant fate?

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Mobile optimization is a major duty for companies aiming at connecting with people of the Age of the Customer. To help you ensure a strategic advantage to your organization, learn about the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation.Download DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Future iOS Android Content Marketing Mobile

The Digital Customer Experience In The Age of Machine Learning

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The Digital Revolution has forged historic change. When we engage with the Internet with our smartphone, tablet or wearable, we don't see its physical infrastructure nor the code that lets it function.

We interact with the “whatever branded content we like, by pressing the elevator buttons without having to know how it works.” No one person or organization is in charge of the changes sweeping the world.

In this historically unprecedented, ongoing event, “hundreds of millions of people” collectively create the Internet and its contents. And when it comes to brands, from this collective behavior the Digital Customer Experience takes shape.

According to most observers, as early as 2025, most of the world will be connected digitally. Connections will become faster, cheaper and more functional. Everyone will have access to digital tools. “Global connectivity” will challenge existing hierarchies, forcing institutions to adapt.

In this scenario, starting as early as of today, computers can now teach themselves, and machines’ capabilities are beginning to surpass human potential.

The Age of Machine Learning will present a wealth of opportunities but the change will be enormously disruptive.

Programming a computer to execute a task used to require writing code that told the machine in minute detail what to do at each step, and you couldn’t develop a machine to do something you didn’t know how to do yourself. But in 1956, IT engineer Arthur Samuel “taught” a computer to win at checkers by programming it to play against itself.

The computer mastered the game and even beat the Connecticut state-level checkers champion in 1962. This just happened decades before Deep Blue won over chess champion Garry Kasparov: Samuel had invented machine learning.

Today, Google’s search algorithm is a famous example of machine learning.

Amazon uses a machine-learning algorithm to identify consumers’ preferences in order to suggest new products.

Machine learning is evolving rapidly. In 2012, computer scientist Geoffrey Hinton and his team developed a “deep-learning” algorithm to discover new drugs.

Moving forward into it, deep learning mimics the way the human brain works. By feeding data to the algorithm and allowing it time to compute, it can continually improve. Amazingly, none of Hinton’s team members had expertise in the life sciences. Deep learning has enabled computers to teach themselves to listen, see, read and write.

Software developers have built a speech-recognition applications that can listen to a person speaking English and articulate a translation in Chinese in close to real time. They also developed image-recognition algorithms that can identify objects in pictures with a better success rate than most humans achieve.

Stanford programmers developed an algorithm whereby a computer can teach itself to write a text description of an image that the device has never before encountered. Each of these functions has approached or surpassed human capabilities.

In the Industrial Revolution there was social disruption, but once engines were used to generate power in all situations, things really settled down.

But in the Digital Revolution, the disruption is much more relevant because it might never settle down.

80% of employment in the developed world has already been disrupted by computers that have just learned how to do: the things that humans spend most of their time being paid to do.

If you are in this 80%, just hope your boss doesn’t realize it too soon, and use time wisely to move quickly from this risky position.

Machine learning and deep learning have exciting potential. For example, an algorithm to aid pathologists has found that the cells around a tumor are as critical as the tumor itself when reaching a diagnosis. One machine learning team developed a system to identify areas of cancerous tissue under a microscope. The system now can execute this task as accurately as a pathologist can. Such technology, still in its infancy, promises to transcend human potential.

Alas, a large proportion of the world’s jobs is in services that machines have already taught themselves to perform. The machine-learning revolution will instigate turmoil that will never abate, so we must keep on learning to prepare for the imminent social and economic upheaval.

In the context of DCX, Neosperience’s Right-Time Personalization module in example can now leverage the same technology used for years by Amazon’s internal data scientist community: services that use powerful algorithms to create machine learning models by finding patterns in your existing data. Then, machine learning uses these models to process new data and generate predictions for your application.

Another technology we are currently investigating within our R&D is IBM Watson. Big Blue’s analytics platform, the one that famously won a Jeopardy showdown. Initial outcomes show lots of potential for delivering analytics insights to a raft of different organization and industries.

Whatever the technology and the technological partner you choose, machine learning will boost digital customer experience so that virtual and physical civilizations will affect and shape each other; the balance they strike will come to define our world tomorrow. And I really mean it.

 

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If you want to ensure a strategic advantage to your organization, discover Neosperience Engage, the end-to-end mobile marketing solution to help brands engage with customers by delivering personalized experiences to customers close to, or inside the store.

Discover Neosperience Engage

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Future Innovation Neuromarketing

Customer Engagement: 10 Stats and Facts to Improve Your Strategy

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You don’t need a crystal ball to envision the future of customer engagement: since digital and mobile have taken a major place in our daily life, one of the key elements when it comes to running a successful business is to engage your customers.

Easier said than done. To improve your loyalty strategy, you will need to think beyond old-fashioned CRM and embrace technology to speak the same language your customers speak.

Thanks to the Internet, the smartphone and all sorts of disruptive devices (smartwatch and virtual reality headsets, to name two), the world of business is rapidly shifting from brand-centric outbound marketing to customer-centric inbound marketing. While market logic and engagement dynamics evolve, too many companies still plan and execute their marketing strategies the old way. Missing the real point of digital transformation.

In the Age of the Customer, technology surely can support your efforts to understand your clients (collecting their data) and to connect with them across all touch points of the digital customer journey; this is just one step of the process, though. The only way to reach real engagement is to turn your organization upside down, assume the risk of digital evolution, and account the customer as the main reason you do business in the first place.

WHY WOULD YOU?

To overcome the challenge of evolution is never easy or immediate. It requires a deep change not just in the organizational philosophy but also in the business structure and the human capital (and we all know the importance of employee engagement to determine long term success). It can take time and can be difficult to accomplish.

Why would you do it, then? Pure and simple, because you have no choice. As costly it may be to take this long road, it will always cost you more to be stuck while all others are running. With 6 billions mobile subscribers in the world and 1.2 people accessing the web from their mobile devices, the creation of a strong lasting brand starts with the ability to attract empowered customers and engage them in innovative customer experiences.

In this mobile environment, a good customer engagement strategy will make it easier to:

  • Attract new visitors and prospects;

  • Convert them into leads;

  • Close the path to conversion;

  • Change customers into promoters;

  • Communicate and connect at a personal level;

  • Collect feedback and understand needs and behaviors;

  • Decrease churn and increase customer retention;

  • Create a sense of belonging (brand based on emotions);

  • Ultimately generate more revenues from repeat sales.
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STATS AND FACTS

If you don’t believe in the power of loyalty, or maybe you still think that acquisition is more important than retention, here we share - and comment - 10 enlightening stats and facts about customer engagement that will make you think again. Whether you are a retailer, an E-Commerce firm, a financial institution or a fashion & luxury brand, the following numbers will help you shape your future marketing vision. 

  1. Customers who are fully engaged represent 23% premium in terms of share of wallet, profitability, revenue, and relationship growth compared with the average customer (Gallup): sales pass, loyalty stays - potentially - forever.
  2. Only 14% of marketers say customer centricity is ranked high within their organization; only 11% percent say that their customers would say customer centricity is ranked high within their organization (CMO Council): clients know you more than you do. Deal with it!
  3. 70% of buying experiences are based on how the customer feels they are being treated (McKinsey): the experience is the key factor to differentiate yourself from competitors.
  4. A 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect as decreasing costs by 10% (Emmet Murphy): loyalty is not just a fancy name, it is a matter of business.
  5. The revenue impact from a 10% improvement in a company’s customer experience score can translate into more than $1 billion (Forrester): customer experience is what will help you stay top of mind and be the first choice in the purchase moment.
  6. 86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience, but only 1% of customers feel that vendors consistently meet their expectations (Forbes): a major rule to engage clients and reach satisfaction is to anticipate their needs and constantly exceed their expectations.
  7. In the retail banking industry, customers who are fully engaged bring 37% more annual revenue to their primary bank than do customers who are actively disengaged (Gallup): the experience has become critical for retail banking to attract new prospects and avoid capital outflow.
  8. 52% of companies say Facebook is the most effective social channel for customer engagement, service and support (Social Media Today): social media have a great impact in how you can manage customer relations and deliver personalized contents, mobile-first.
  9. 45% of buyers require person-to-person contact in the buying process (ITSMA/CFO): where technology touches all moments of our life, there comes the importance of increasing the human factor in business.
  10. Customer retention is 14% higher among companies applying big data and analytics to deal velocity (Aberdeen Customer Engagement Report 2014): the spread of mobile devices enables you to gather all sorts of data about customers. Use these numbers to improve customer experience.

Let's close up with a quote by Forbes, that sums up engagement in the mobile era: "Customers are in the driver’s seat now and many businesses that don’t have the technology and systems in place to support an omni-channel customer experience will be forced to take the backseat". 

Want to learn how to improve the connection with empowered customers?

Learn The Rules of Engagement For the Mobile Era

 

If you want to ensure a strategic advantage to your organization, discover Neosperience Engage, the end-to-end mobile marketing solution to help brands engage with customers by delivering personalized experiences to customers close to, or inside the store.

Discover Neosperience Engage

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Gamification Retail Content Marketing Inbound Marketing Big Data

The 10 Commandments (+1) of Customer Experience Management

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In the Age of the Customer, nothing is more sacred than clients. Customers are the primary source of success and reward; at the same time they are - or should be - the ultimate reason why you do business.

Customer experience management, thus, become critical to engage them and win their unconditional love. And here are the 10 commandments to improve this two-ways connection, starting with their satisfaction and ending with your competitive advantage.

After discussing the 7 deadly sins of a bad customer experience, with the commandments we keep on exploring the ‘religious’ side of digital marketing. Far from wanting to hurt believers’ feeling, we rather wish to emphasize the critical role of people in that process - mostly guided by disruptive technologies - that will decide who wins and loses the race to customer’s attention in overcrowded markets.

While we stress the importance of this customer-centric era, too many companies still think that technology, product and brand identity make the real core of business. But technology is just a tool, not the final mean; a well designed product is worthless, if nobody will buy it; and brand identity is nothing but the result of what people say, narrate and share about it (on social media, for instance).

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If markets shift into conversations, all brands transform into - whether they like it or not - publishers, and it becomes easy to lose the grip on communications interrupted by constant ground noise. Customers receive way too many messages, coming from different channels and sources. As a consequence, companies are forced to think and act fast to give them feedback and high-quality answers whenever they need it.

Digital channels allow customers to control how and when - if ever - they will engage with your brand. As a marketers, you have less and less control over that communication, and the ability to create and sustain amazing customer experiences at every touch point is not considered extraordinary. It’s routine for customers empowered by mobile devices and accustomed to receive what they want when they want it.

Let's mix the sacred with the profane, then, defining a list of the 10 commandments of customer experience management. And if you think there is something missing, please feel free to comment.

  1. Customers come first - everything you do, you do it for customers. Work to solve their problems, fulfill their desires and give more than expected.
  2. Ask, don't tell - innovative brands always listen to what customers are telling. Don't be afraid to ask to yourself critical questions, even the ones you don't want to hear. 
  3. Help, don't sell - when people connect with you, they don't want you to sell them stuff; they ask for your help. Only then will come the conversion, and customers will live happily ever after.
  4. Map the journey - you will never really understand your clients if you don't map the customer journey to analyze the touch points they go through when they decide to engage with you. 
  5. Be true to yourself - your identity is the foundation on which to build your storytelling, content marketing and engagement strategy. Be coherent and respect your true why.
  6. Stay memorable - people judge brands not just for what they produce and sell but, even most important, for the omni-channel experience they create for customers. Stay epic!
  7. Put human touch - automation (Internet of Things, i.e.) can be really helpful to overcome the challenge of digital transformation, but never forget to put a human touch in the relationship with real people.
  8. Act before react - the best way to shape a memorable customer experience is to adopt a proactive approach and work to fix the problems before they even happen. 
  9. Don't treat all as one - in an era of standardization, the worst thing you could do is to treat all customers as one. One-to-one communication and personalization are the keys to customer retention
  10. Involve employees - you will never win customers' heart if you don't conquer your employees first. Treat them well and make them feel like they're a critical part of the brand.  

All these commandments can be summed in one last rule (+1):

  • +1. Change your mindset - from telling customers what you want them to hear to listening to them and understand what they want and need. 

Only then you will build engaging conversations, and yours will be the kingdom. Translated in business terms: you will benefit from a growing flow of satisfied and loyal customers that will spread the good vibes, return to buy more and close the circle from strangers to promoters. 


Mobile optimization is a major duty for companies aiming at connecting with people of the Age of the Customer. To help you ensure a strategic advantage to your organization, learn about the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation.

Download DCX 7-Steps Checklist

 
Topics: Digital Customer Experience Branding Storytelling Content Marketing Inbound Marketing

How Google Mobile Friendly Algorithm Changes Your Digital Marketing

mobile_friendly

Can you count how many times Google has changed the search engine algorithm in the last years? Hard to tell: usually they are small updates that only affect the daily routine of SEO experts and webmasters. Once in a while, however, we face a major change with a huge impact on rankings and results pages.

That’s what will happen with the Google mobile friendly algorithm, listed to be released on April 21th, destined to change the way you plan your digital marketing strategy.

Digital marketers already know how the acronym SERP (search engine results page) can influence an entire branding effort: in the Internet era, your online presence is critical to manage the overall strategy of your company. Even more so now that inbound marketing is rapidly becoming the best choice to attract and convert empowered customers.

Fact is: if your brand doesn’t show up in the first pages when customers search for the keywords connected to your business, it’s like you don’t even exist for them. In hyper-competitive environments, digital transformation can only be achieved through constant optimization, the key to stay top of mind and be sure they find you when customers are looking for solutions or - even better - are ready to convert.

Any evolution of the algorithm is awaited with anxiety, because it is probably going to mark a significant change in how users experience the customer journey you have so hardly built. After all, we’re talking about a company that dominates the search market with a huge 75% total share. The so-called Google mobile friendly algorithm is expected to have a higher impact than Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird.

The new update will go into effect from April 21th, affecting mobile searches in all languages worldwide. And if you think that mobile searches are less important than the desktop ones, the following statistics will force you to think again:

  • More than 50% of customers use their smartphones to search for product info and decide what to buy and where to buy.

  • 60% of all traffic for Google search engine comes now from mobile devices.

  • As of last year, mobile platforms accounted for 60% of total time spent on digital media.

  • 78% of customers searching on mobile for a local business ultimately end up making a purchase.

The smartphone screen is already the first reference for customers to share opinions on social media and look for all information needed to take the purchase decision. The business consequence is that customers expect that you are:

  • Reachable everytime, everywhere and across all devices.
  • Able to offer optimized experiences on any the device.

A couple of weeks ago Google warned that the update will have a "significant impact in our search results". The new algorithm will expand the use of ‘mobile-friendliness’ as a ranking signal, so that users might find it easier to “get relevant, high quality search results that are optimized for their devices”.

google-mobile-friendly

It’s going to be a total shake-up for mobile. Websites that are not designed with mobile in mind will likely fall down, while websites that are responsively designed will rise in the search results. What should you do to avoid the pitfalls and take advantage of the new algorithm? Stay mobile-friendly, that’s the basic rule. Let’s see how you can put it into practice.

  1. Use responsive design - it’s no mystery that Google loves and officially recommends responsive design for websites. This is the first factor that will be analyzed by Google’s specific tool, and one of the 4 rules of mobile engagement.

  2. Use the same URL - do not implement a different URL (domain, subdomain or subdirectory) for the mobile site. Be sure that the page is always available from the same URL to all devices.

  3. Help the botGooglebot is your entrance door to the SERP. Try to help it when it comes to scan your mobile website files. How? Start with this: do not block JavaScript, CSS and image files.

  4. Avoid redirect error - you don’t have a mobile friendly page or maybe you are working on fixing it after testing the site with Google’s tool? In the meantime, never use 404 Mobile Error to redirect the desktop version of the page.

  5. Be fast to load - one of the key factors in mobile website analysis is, of course, the page load speed. Test (using PageSpeed Insights) and optimize your speed to offer the best mobile customer experience possible.

  6. Optimize content - even though this update will mostly affect technical elements, do not forget that content is still considered the king. Keep it optimized in both form and substance: avoid unplayable media on mobile devices, avoid Flash video, avoid duplicate content and redirects from desktop pages.

You can easily see why some marketers are rubbing their hands with glee while others are running for the nearest oxygen tank. In an ecosystem shaped by mobile devices, digital marketing and customer experience are strictly linked and a mobile-first (slowly evolving into mobile-only) approach is simply mandatory to engage with clients surrounded by connected technology. Brace yourself: Google is coming.

 

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Top 10 Don'ts For Developing a Digital Marketing Strategy

Mobile optimization is a major duty for companies aiming at connecting with people of the Age of the Customer. To help you ensure a strategic advantage to your organization, learn about the DCX 7-Steps Checklist crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation.

Download DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Innovation Android Content Marketing Inbound Marketing Mobile

Facebook Messenger + Customer Experience: The Human Algorithm of DCX

mark-zuckerberg

"I don't know anyone who likes calling businesses. It's not fast or convenient, and it definitely doesn't feel like the future". These words opened the F8 Developer Conference, where we have witnessed the evolution of Facebook from social network to conversation platform between brands and customers.

The quote by Mark Zuckerberg is also a good starting point to understand the value of the human algorithm in the digital era, and how the new idea of Facebook Messenger will impact digital customer experience (DCX).

The opening keynote by the founder and CEO of the largest social media site in the world carried very good news to all those customers constantly facing bad customer experiences, online and offline. The evolution of Facebook, in fact, will bring to a seamless streamline of the purchase process, from awareness to post-purchase customer service. All centered around Facebook Messenger, so that you won't need to ever leave the big platform.

MORE HUMAN THAN HUMAN

The heart of the matter: we have now entered the new era for customers, where physical and digital converge into an omni-channel customer journey, shaped by mobile devices. In such a flowering of disruptive technologies, you might think that the ‘human factor’ is not as critical as it was in the pre-Internet era.

This is far from being true, and the F8 conference proved that Facebook is well-aware of the importance of human beings in the digital transformation. It's not a coincidence that Zuckerberg has called the new identity of Facebook a ‘family of apps’ rather than a single social network. A growing platform - with Messenger at the core - to best serve an ever growing audience of users and customers.

The centrality of the messaging outlets - with the launch of Messenger Business and the integration of WhatsApp in the Facebook newsfeed - is the perfect exemplification of how markets have become conversations, forcing brands to evolve into publishers. Despite the fact that we live in an increasingly automated ecosystem - or maybe precisely for this very reason - customers demand a more human connection during all moments-of-truth of the purchase process.

THE SECOND FACEBOOK REVOLUTION

Social media have had a major role in the revolution of society and human relations, but now they need to take a further step to increase the human factor in 'business relations'. Facebook is guiding the second social revolution, transitioning from a single network into a complete service platform - a family of apps dedicated to people and companies:

  • Content sharing (branded and user generated stories);

  • Instant messaging (and real-time customer service);

  • People focused analytics (for tailor-cut contents and solutions);

  • Targeted advertising (banner versus in-app contents);

  • Internet of Things (with the acquisition of Parse);

  • Social shopping (search, pay and buy without leaving Facebook);

  • Virtual reality (with the Oculus Rift headset).

Facebook_Messenger_Business

All elements will combine to offer a complete - people and mobile first - customer journey, to deliver personalized experiences and ultimately improve customer satisfaction. That’s where Facebook is headed for: with 890 million daily active users (as of February 2015), the goal is to become the most important communication tool in the world. A tool that people will use not just for personal purposes but also to deal with brands and make business.

The business side of the website is already critical but in the near future Facebook will offer a more integrated platform where companies can build their identity and image (we all know the value of social world-of-mouth), but also manage the connection with every single customer (in terms of engagement, loyalty, support and gamification).

THE DAWN OF THE HUMAN BRAND

Facebook is paving the way for all other brands, to create a new paradigm focused on "discovery, engagement, expression". We are rapidly moving towards markets where impersonal organizations will transform into human brands, and people - not products - will become the center of every digital marketing strategy. This is the human algorithm, part technology and part communication.

For decades companies have created their strategies relying on the power of top-down communication and advertising, regardless of the different need and desires of real clients. In the new era, the so-called Age of the Customer, this would never work. Empowered customers demand a new two-ways approach, in the name of active involvement and engagement.

In this perspective, Facebook is focusing on the centrality of human connection, where all relations are mediated by objects/devices and machines don’t even need human intervention to communicate. Many companies already use social media as part of the customer care service, but Messenger Business will add the ability to engage users in a one-to-one communication in real-time. To give them help whenever they need it, wherever they are and whatever device they are using.

This evolution will affect - more than all other industries - retail and e-retail. The reason is simple: in the digital years an E-Commerce firm can’t be reduced to a website, the same way a brick and mortar is not just a plain store. They both need to ‘evolve to involve’ people into a complete stream that includes showcase, purchase, new means of payment, and customer service.

Facebook Messenger for business is the key to understand the (r)evolution of digital customer experience: the inefficient flow of pre-formatted Emails will be replaced by a consistent communication, to share ideas and accompany the client across all steps of the purchase. Engaging him with a proficient and open conversation about the product you sell and he wants to buy.

The Human algorithm, rooted in data but nourished with mutual understanding, will always be critical to improve customer retention: if one sale can be the result of a good push advertising, there's no doubt that repeat sales only come from a compelling and satisfying experiences.

 

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: Top 5 Steps To Improve Customer Experience For Millennials

Social media trends are crucial for a better customer experience management. That's why why we have included social relations in the DCX 7-Steps Checklist, a useful guide crafted by Neosperience, with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. You can download the free paper here:

Download DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Neosperience Social Networking Facebook Retail Content Marketing Big Data

How Proximity Marketing Changes Retail Customer Experience

proximity_marketing_customer_experience

Bluetooth, iBeacon and smartphones: what are they doing in the same place? They are disrupting the idea of brick and mortar, shaping the future of retail customer experience. Proximity marketing is the final connection between brands and customers; an effective tool to generate repeat sales, deliver your brand message and drive the (r)evolution of retailers.

The renowned 4 P’s of McCarthy have long been the foundation of the business tool known as marketing mix. Product, Price, Promotion, Place: for decades retailers have responded to changes in market equilibrium relying on these levers of growth. In markets driven by mobile devices, however, the rhythm of innovation is so fast that four 'P's' are not enough. We need the fifth P of marketing, the most critical in the digital era, Proximity. 

PROXIMITY WHAT?

Proximity marketing is defined as “the localized wireless distribution of advertising content associated with a particular place” (Wikipedia). Definitions, however, never tell the whole story. Proximity marketing, in fact, can't be reduced to mere advertising purposes (as it’s not confined to the retail industry).

Until recent years, a major marketing effort was aimed at reaching 'not well defined' consumers - broadly divided into target segments - with advertising, mostly one-fits-all content. The idea of a marketing strategy based on proximity was out of reach, due to technological limitations (unless you want to confuse proximity marketing with direct mail, in-store discount leaflets and door to door promotions).

But now you are able to offer personalized content when the customer is close or inside a store, right on his/her smartphone, to encourage specific behaviors, enhance the shopping experience and facilitate the purchase decision. The main objective of this new evolution, then, is to connect with empowered customers that mostly live in a digital world shaped by mobile devices. With this in mind, the idea of proximity - the physical location of a product with respect to the customer - linked to business strategies becomes a huge business opportunity.

PROXIMITY ENGAGEMENT

Proximity marketing is not just one tool; it is a set of technologies and devices that rebuild the way we interact with places and products. At the same time, not all retail innovations are related to proximity (Apple Pay and virtual reality, i.e.). But it’s undeniable that the crucial step into the future of retail customer experience will come from three major elements:

  • iBeacon (Geo-fencing);
  • Push notifications;
  • The Internet of Things.

Despite the fact that it usually takes the center stage in discussions, too many companies still don’t get one important implication of proximity marketing: digital customer experience management requires a change outside AND inside the organization. More often than not, however, internal divisions of retail brands work like they’re complete strangers: some operate the stores and some the digital properties.

Mattel_Neosperience

Few statistics, gathered by JiWire and published by Forbes, explain the value of Proximity Marketing:

  • 53% of customers are willing to share their current location to receive more relevant advertising.

  • 57% of customers are more likely to engage with location-based advertising.

  • 62% of customers share local deals with friends.

  • 63% of customers feel a coupon is the most valuable form of mobile marketing.

These numbers say that smartphones and all mobile devices (Apple Watch, anyone?) already play a huge role in engagement and loyalty programs. What’s not so clear, if anything, is whether the retail businesses are ready to understand the needs and wants of customers and adapt the very nature of the store to the digital environment.

MIND THE GAP

As of now, in fact, there is a deep gap between the omni-channel experience users live daily and the analog purchase experience they face when they enter the physical store. The future of retail customer experience lies in the necessity to close this gap with a mobile & digital bridge, and proximity marketing might be the answer to your prayers.

The 'iBeacon plus push notification' pair is one way to improve, not the remedy against all business problems. If you’re a traditional brick-and-mortar, you need to understand that technology is not an enemy; it’s your only chance to survive in the mobile ecosystem. There are at least four ways proximity marketing will drive retail marketing strategy:

  • Supporting the adoption of a true omni-channel marketing strategy: customers don’t live in just one channel anymore, why would you?;

  • Personalizing the shopping experience, with tailor-cut contents, context aware offers and game dynamics;

If you keep walking at slow pace, while customers and competitors run, you will fail to overcome in one fell swoop the challenge of globalization, E-commerce and digital transformation. Proximity Marketing has tremendous revenue potential, but that’s not all about money: if properly managed, it will allow you to deepen the connection with clients, boost loyalty and ultimately improve the customer experience.

 

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 4 Email Marketing Trends That Will Affect Customer Experience

As practical advice: if you want to connect with your customers 
in a whole new way discover Neosperience Engage, the end-to-end mobile marketing solution to turn on smartphones like magic and deliver personalized experiences to customers close to, or inside the store.

Discover Neosperience Engage

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Gamification Neosperience Retail Content Marketing Internet of Things

The 7 Deadly Sins of a Bad Customer Experience

unhappy

Easter is near. It’s time to review all you have done in the past months, to understand if you're close to your goals and what went wrong during the journey. We all know that the road to hell is paved with good intentions. We’re talking about digital customer experience, of course. Let’s get spiritual, then, and see the 7 deadly sins of a bad customer experience. Have you committed an unpardonable sin?

Deadly sins are not just like all other errors. Commit them and it will be dramatically hard to recover. Metaphors aside, customer experience management is a science governed by laws that you can only ignore at your peril. Do it and you will soon pay the price. One number says it all: 89% of customers have stopped doing business with a company after experiencing a poor experience (Salesforce).

This is even more true in the so-called Age of the Customer, where your brand image is shaped not just by the quality of what you produce or sell, but also - and above all - by the ability to build a compelling experience for your customers. Your digital marketing efforts, therefore, should aim at involving your clients across all channels of the journey map, taking advantage of new technologies to create a profitable connection between you and them.

While the sins of a bad customer experience may not be as detrimental as the original deadly sins, they could be likewise costly. They can make you the first choice in customer’s mind and decide if you can still keep the pace with digital transformation. Engagement, loyalty and repeat sales: they all depend on whether you can avoid - or fix - the following deadly sins.

NO CUSTOMER-CENTRIC VISION

The digital disruption has caused an evolution from passive consumers to demanding and informed customers. In the Age of the Customer, the experience is considered at least as important as the product or the brand itself. “Everything starts with the customer”, to say it with the alleged words of Louis XIV.

The secret of a real customer-centric company lies in the ability to adopt a proactive approach and predict how clients' needs and desires will change as a result of technological innovation. Success only comes when customers become the core of your strategy.

NO OMNI-CHANNEL STRATEGY

Customers, involved in a mobile ecosystem, experience brands and products across different touch points, online and offline. In their purchase process they value the word-of-mouth but look for information on their devices (smartphone, tablet and soon smartwatch).

As a result, they don't live into one channel alone, and expect that you are able to engage them wherever they are, whenever they need it, whatever point of contact they are using. Thus, customer journey mapping becomes critical to understand in which ways people interact with brands and how to connect with them efficiently.

NO MOBILE-FIRST PRESENCE

Long gone are the days when mobile was 'just' a new way of communication, with no marketing purpose. The mobile disruption is rebooting the purchase process and - consequently - marketing and sales funnels. The smartphone is now the first reference for product and service information: if your brand is not mobile-savvy, more than likely it won't be considered among their top choices.

Not being mobile is like not being at all. Still, too many companies fail to evolve with the times, while costumers run towards the future to become more and more empowered. The digital transformation requires that a mobile-first (if not mobile-only) attitude is the standard: a modus operandi, not a goal.

NO EMPLOYEE COMMITMENT

According to recent studies, today companies spend over 720 million dollars each year on employee engagement programs. This figure is destined to rise to over $1.5 billion in the next few years (Bersin & Associates), yet actual engagement falls down to a mere 13% (Gallup).

Digital leaders understand the importance of involving employees into their strategies because “the entire service-profit chain begins with, and absolutely depends on, engaged employees” (Brian Solis). The real 'inner sin' occurs when: there are no shared vision and objectives; you still rely on a top down execution; you fail to deliver core values into an amazing customer experience.

NO PROACTIVE APPROACH

The emergence of powerful devices (virtual reality and iBeacon, to name two) forces all businesses to adopt different approaches to overcome the challenge of innovation. At the same time, brands can profit from the astonishing amount of data produced by technology and behaviors. Data about markets, competitors and - most of all - customers. A shapeless mass that they must learn to scan and transform into useful insights.

Once you know how to deal with the big data phenomenon, you will unlock the huge opportunities of a proactive approach to customer experience. Being proactive, you will be able to control the situation - acting rather than reacting -, to understand customers' needs, and to anticipate their questions and doubts before they even happen.

NO LOYALTY STRATEGY

Single sales by new clients or repeat sales by devoted customers: What do you value the most? Far from saying that acquisition is not important, statistics prove that customer retention is way more crucial to succeed in the long term. One for all: the probability of selling to an existing client lies between 60 and 70%, but the probability of selling to a new customer is no more than 20%.

If the acquisition costs on average 6 times more than retention, it's easy to see why more and more brands are investing time and budgets in loyalty-focused programs and gamification mechanics. When customers can choose from thousands suppliers from all over the world, you must conquer their heart and mind to an enduring success.

NO LISTENING METHOD

Last but not least, a method sin: too many companies still assume that their relationship with customers is a top-down one-way communication. They think that customer service is separated from all other business functions and that they are in charge of the brand image. This may have been true in the pre-Internet era, but today things are completely different.

Your top priority, on the contrary, should be to listen and understand what customers think and want. Remember: they know you better than you do. Social media and real-time messaging make the perfect tool to foster the necessary two-ways communication and inside-out dynamics.

And yes, probably there are more than just 7 deadly sins for digital customer experience, but we think these are the most harmful for your marketing strategy health. It’s not too late, though, to regret and make amend: abandon the wrong way and you will finally offer a better experience.

 

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE: 10 Reasons Why You Offer A Faulty Experience To Mobile Customers

The improvement of customer experience management is the reason why we crafted the DCX 7-Steps Checklist, a useful guide with requirements and insights for a successful digital transformation. You can download the free paper here:Download DCX 7-Steps Checklist

Topics: Digital Customer Experience Gamification Social Networking Analytics Content Marketing Big Data