In an age which some may term as the “experience economy”, companies and businesses can ill afford to focus solely on quality products or low prices. The entire spectrum of engaging and enrapturing a customer through every single touch point – both online and offline – becomes critical.
It isn’t just the transaction itself that matters. Rather the entire customer experience journey becomes important. This includes reading/hearing about your product online or offline, browsing your stores/ websites, speaking to a retail associate, purchasing the product, experiencing the product, and after sales customer service.
With the ubiquity of social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and blogs, customers are sharing positive or negative experiences with a far greater network than ever before. Ignore these voices at your own peril!
Against such a backdrop, what can companies do to improve their customer experiences?
In this article by experience designer Dane Petersen, a customer’s engagement with your products, services or environments are affected by these human qualities:
Understanding these qualities in your customer would provide a useful first step in designing physical and online environments, service offerings and interactions. It should also inform how staff are trained to engage with customers, be it on Facebook and Twitter, or face-to-face at the outlet itself.
A good way to do so would be via conducting interviews or focus groups with targeted customers, as well as observing their behaviours at both online and offline. Through eye tracking technology, both physical and virtual behaviours can be monitored and used to refine the design of shops and websites.
Beyond design, you should also examine your customer’s complete journey. This was highlighted by a HBR article by Adam Richardson which covered three key facets to take note of:
In the digital and social media environment, engagement and interactions can be further improved through the collection of real-time engagement data along every step of the way.
OK, so we’ve looked at the human factors from our customer’s perspective, developed a map of their interaction points, and considered how we can design them accordingly. What’s the next step?
The answer? Get your entire organisation and all members of your team on board!
Engineering memorable and delightful customer experiences can be sheer hard work, since many of us are not intuitively wired to do so. Achieving it requires a keen understanding of your customers, how they interact with your products/services, and how you deliver it through your staff, website, social media platforms, physical stores, and any other touch point.
However, delivering consistently excellent customer experiences not only gives your company a huge competitive advantage – it also generates positive buzz and word of mouth. This is something which money can never buy.
Apple’s success lies in providing premium customer experiences every step of the way (courtesy of Zopim Blog)