Digital Technology Drives Excellent Customer Experience

customer-experience-digitalThe challenge racing across businesses today is how to improve, scale, and sustain an excellent Customer Experience (CX). Customer Experience is the sum of all the customer’s interactions, good, bad or indifferent, with a company’s products, services, and other support services that the customer encounters in their pre, during and post purchase activities. Activities as benign as the placement of the company’s search engine, how well search results mirror Google search results, and how easy it is to process a billing dispute seem insignificant to a great product. In fact, these little “pin pricks” can damage a brand and damage a product’s standing when easy tasks become hard, frustrating, and take a long time to successfully complete.

Company’s management of their CX is vital because how well and how quickly a customer can find product information, pay their bills, get questions answered, and resolve complaints is as valuable (or more) as the actual product or service the company creates to satisfy customer requirements. Companies want to have not only great products and services, but also great Customer Experience to make it easier and faster to find, discover, research, purchase, and then great post purchase follow up that leads to a re-purchase. CX is vital because it allows companies to create further competitive advantage that not only forestalls competitors but maintains loyal customers while growing new customers. Companies need a goal of great customer experience to make new customers a returning customer and then make them loyal, brand advocates of the company.

Digital innovation at the customer level is how companies improve and grow a great Customer Experience. An easy first question for management is: why digital? Digital can be seen to be cold, impartial, and elusive to a great customer experience. Improving and growing digital interactions is how companies create, improve, and sustain great CX. The challenge with companies focused on a great CX is how to improve “pain points” in customer interactions while maintaining the “bright spots,” those interactions that the company performs well. Improving CX is continuing to build and maintain “bright spots” while improving “pain points.”

How Digital Builds Great CX – It’s Led by the Voice of the Customer.

The Voice of the Customer (VOC) leads and prioritizes the digital improvements to the customer journey. The customer journey is the typical path a customer takes all the way from the discovery and research of the product through the purchase process to the repurchase of the product. It’s easy to adopt a “we think” attitude to improve things “for” the customer. Instead, analyze, categorize, and visualize the customer journey using the actual words, observations, and data from the actual customer behavior. Where does the customer stop? What takes a long time? When does the customer request help? Do customers return to a new process or try it once and then never return? These points of customer frustration are where digital improvement need to be directed. Prioritization goes to the places of greatest customer frustration and where it is likely to discourage customer loyalty and re-purchase. Finally, monitor the existing customer surveys to ensure that digital improvements are heard in the VOC. If the customer complaints are still there, it’s back to the drawing board!

How Digital Builds Great CX – Always On, Consistent and With High Levels of Self-service.

For customers, inconsistent levels of service are one of the major “pain points” in any step of a customer journey. Consistency, even if a process is not perfect, is far better than one that is inconsistent. Customers, increasingly customers of any age and demographic, want the ability to have powerful tools to research and solve their own problems. In the 1990’s and early 2000’s, calling a Customer Service Center was a naturally accepted way that customers new they had to endure to solve a problem or ask for an additional service. Today, no more. Give customers the power, insight, and consistent delivery to find, research, and solve their own problems through web, mobile, and voice enabled digital applications.

How Digital Builds Great CX – Personalized to Individual Customer Needs

Great CX really becomes “My Customer Experience.” Even for seemingly similar products and services, customers have different needs and requirements in their customer journey. Personalization gives customers the ability to use a common set of digital tools to create and use to their own preferences and needs. There are lots of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Machine Learning (ML), and supporting technology to help guide the personalization of the Customer Experience. Conducting deep analytics of how customers set their personalization preferences can help build both a product recommendation engine and a self-help recommendation engine to help customers solve problems before they even realized they were experiencing difficulties.

How Digital Builds Great CX – in Works in Any Industry

Creating a great Customer Experience environment, is not limited to B2C, B2B, and the thousands of different industries. Great CX is needed and works in any industry. A great technique when building a great CX in digital is to look beyond your own customers, your own industry, and your own competitors to discover what are great digital CX practices. When company’s look beyond their own industry, they discover new, exciting, and effective ways to deliver great CX that customers want and may not expect. Delivering a CX that is effective, fast, and personalized in a way that is new to an industry leaves the customer satisfied and a company in a great position. Compete against leaders outside your industry to deliver world-class, not best-in-industry CX.

How Digital Builds Great CX – Company Solves & Improves Customer Issues in the Background.

The hardest lesson for a company to discern is that a great Customer Experience is never done. Great CX is a constant, consistent, and never-ending path and mindset to always be better, more efficient, more personalized, and more predicative to solve customer problems and pre-identify products customers need before they know it. Customer surveys are a part of this but drive to deliver ongoing great CX is a passion for customer success. The passion for customer success dedicates itself to constantly looking for ways to improve CX no matter how small.

Digital is a powerful tool for improving CX, but it is far from the only one. Small sessions of 10-15 customers grouped into the same segmentation categories discussing their “journey” of how they use (and don’t use) a company’s services to solve their problems allows digital improvements to sustain company bright spots and improve company “pain points” that customers may have. In addition, advanced analytics can help identify and target customers that need a new product or service. CX not only helps maintain the bottom line, it allows helps grow the top line revenue. Create loyal customers by using self-service, easy-to-use, fast, personalized, and powerful digital technology to enable a great customer experience.

Chad Storlie

Chad Storlie

Chad Storlie is the author of two books: Combat Leader to Corporate Leader and Battlefield to Business Success. Chad’s brand message is that organizations and individuals need to translate and apply military skills to business because they immediately produce results and are cost effective. Chad is a retired US Army Special Forces Lieutenant Colonel with 20+ years of Active and Reserve service in infantry, Special Forces, and joint headquarters units. He served in Iraq, Bosnia, Korea, and throughout the United States. He was awarded the Bronze Star, the Combat Infantry Badge, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Special Forces Tab, and the Ranger Tab. Chad is an adjunct Lecturer of Marketing at the University of Minnesota, Carlson School of Management. In addition to teaching, he is a mid-level marketing executive and has worked in marketing and sales roles for various companies, including Union Pacific, General Electric, Comcast, and Manugistics. He has been published over 320 different articles in over 170 separate publications including The Harvard Business Review blog, Business Week Online, Forbes, Christian Science Monitor, and USA Today. He has a BA from Northwestern University and an MBA from Georgetown University.

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