Digital leaders know that the experience delivered to customers is - at least - as important as the product or service they produce or sell. Stats say that customers are willing to spend more if they get a better experience in return, so customer experience management becomes an undeniable priority for every business. In order to have a long-term success, you need to define and understand how to better all dimensions of your clients’ journey.
Gartner defines customer experience management (CEM) as “the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and, thus, increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy”. You can easily see how this process involves a deep improvement in your vision, and the ability to adapt digital customer experience to technology innovations.
Markets evolve, but companies? In a 2005 research by James Allen et al., 80% of businesses stated that they we able to offer a ‘great customer experience’, while just the 8% of customers felt the same way. This stark gap is not filled yet, because brands sometimes fail to keep pace with disruptive technology trends and to engage with the empowered people of the Age of the Customers.
Planning and executing incomplete strategies means that companies always move one step behind customers. Too many brands are still loyal to traditional marketing funnels, an outline that depicts the customer journey as a linear sequence from awareness to conversion. This simplistic framework doesn’t work for the digital era, defined by innovative devices and constant connectivity.
The journey now looks non-linear, a map blown-up into multiple touch points that - more often than not - slip away from your control. As a result, before even planning your new marketing strategy, you must change your approach to customers and their needs. How? Here are 5 steps you can follow to gain full control of your experience management.
- Fix problems before they happen - when you create your customer experience, one of the best ways to drive clients and prospects through the conversion path is to recognize in advance all needs related to every touch point. Stay one step ahead, use the proper framework to prioritize decisions and give them what they want, everywhere they are.
- Personalize the user experience - to understand the needs and preferences is just the first step to stay top of mind. In addition, you need to offer a seamless, consistent and - most of all - personalized experience, online and offline. Whether you are a retailer, an E-Commerce firm or a service company, try to translate the wants into an amazing journey shaped for your customers.
- Use automation with human touch - you might be hesitant to use automation due to its impersonal nature but, when done well, it can be both helpful and personal. The future of machine learning and the Internet of Things lies in the mass personalization: behavior tracking, push notifications, follow up and customer service.
- Set up customer analytics - the best thing you can do for your customers is to get to know them through what they do across all touch points. Set up an analytics platform, collect behavior-based data through online profiles, social sharing and proximity marketing activities, and use this information to improve your strategy.
- Constantly measure and follow-up - data analysis is not the final step of the process: data is useless if you can't pull out insights to improve your customer journey map and optimize touch points. Customer experience management for the digital era starts and ends with defining and understanding all dimensions of the multifaceted connection between brands and clients.
The ultimate goal is to optimize interactions from the clients' perspective and, as a result, foster engagement and loyalty. Design the correct framework, develop customer-centric strategies, and ultimately deliver amazing experiences: that's the key to success in a world shaped by disruptive devices.