Managing tomorrow's customer experiences today
To create a great online customer experience needs more than simply employing technological magic, according to Ingrid Froelich of SDL Web Content Management Solutions, who explains the key strategies for building true customer loyalty on the web.
First, you need to examine the factors that influence how an individual experiences a brand and understand that a vast range of dynamics will come into play. These can include everything from an individual's past experiences with brands or products, to their socio-economic status.
Among the key questions that must be considered:
- Who are your customers? Most people experience things differently. Your customer intelligence comes in into play here, where the combination of characteristics that make up your target audience will provide invaluable information in creating the most satisfying customer experience possible. The ability to capture customer data and use that information to make their own specific online brand experience both relevant and engaging, means that you can satisfy different tastes and preferences.
- How do you want your to customers see you? Essentially, customers interact with organisations or brands in three ways. They first establish how the product or service the company provides meets their needs or desires. They then assess the extent to which the interaction is easy or difficult, and finally, how their experience makes them feel. You therefore need to establish if their interaction with you is useful, usable and desirable. You also need to understand how their experience with your company differs from that of your competitors - in other words, what makes it memorable?
- What activities will you participate in? This is more than just a question of tactics, as it also entails internal processes. To fulfil the customer experience mandate, organisations need to be clear about what they will do, will not do, or change. When the goals of a customer-experience focus become clear, it is then possible to focus resources on the areas that support meeting that goal.
Transforming good intentions to a great experience entails creating the right experience, for the right customer, and then adapting to your customers' wishes and desires. While segmentation and message adaptation is a fairly standard practice within most large companies, today's socially interactive climate means that a great customer experience translates into making customers your best advocate.
Customers' attitudes and personalities can really affect the way that their positive or negative experience is expressed. The ability to develop a targeted, experience-focused proposition makes all interaction with customers more effective. For example, a company selling cars to both elderly customers and young first-time car buyers may well offer the same thing: a reliable and affordable car that gets you from point A to point B. The reality of selling this, every marketer knows, is the way in which you frame the proposition. The younger market will be much more drawn to "independence" and "sporty", whereas the older demographic will be more drawn to "safe", "reliable" and "good value".
The way that a company relates this experience will have a big impact on all elements of delivery, including images, movies and text. In addition, the methods you employ to roll out the value of your brand, products or services usually changes over time. They will take into account your competition, differentiators, customer habits, trends and more. This is best facilitated with a constant customer focus on measurement of strategy and delivery that allows you to establish both feedback and effectiveness.
Obtaining feedback directly from customers is one way to ensure that you can constantly improve and find new ways and new messages that resonate more with their needs and wants. Even the most rudimentary tools, such as website comments and ratings, can provide very effective ways to engage and interact. This kind of direct feedback can also directly benefit your customer intelligence by connecting existing customer data with direct and personal responses to offers or information.
Either way, you can be sure that if customers can't comment directly on your site, there is a very good chance that their message will be conveyed within their social media networks, where you don't have the chance to respond.