Consumer expectations are higher than ever before, and the importance of a customer experience is morphing into a highly personalized, highly demanding landscape. With the rise of technology and big data, personalization offers brands a competitive advantage, aiming to take experiences to the next level. As companies begin to compete on customer experience, consumers are increasingly setting higher standards for how they expect to be treated.
33 percent of Americans say they’ll consider switching companies after just a single instance of poor service and one in three customers will even pay more to receive a higher level of service. In fact, it’s projected that poor customer experience is costing businesses more than $75 billion a year.
If customer experience refers to the sum of every interaction a customer has with a business, both pre-and post-sale, the customer experience strategy defines the actionable plans in place to deliver a positive, meaningful experience across those interactions.
Unfortunately, with the fierce competition for customers share-of-wallet, there continues to be too many failed interactions. How can brands avoid disasters and preserve the customer experience? The first step is to identify when and how the customer experience your brand is delivering is failing. Here are three tried and true signs that you customer experience is failing:
When You Don’t Know Your Customer
One of the most common failures of brands today is not knowing who their customer base is. In the age of technology, big data, and machine learning, brands have the opportunity to paint a picture of the customer based on purchasing behaviors.
When You Ask for Too Much
On the flipside, the hyper focus on personalization and attempts at identifying who the customer is can sometimes backfire. A major problem in this pursuit is that brands end up asking for too much information from customers – some of which is not relevant for personalizing the experience.
When You Don’t Put Out the Fire
Clarity is key to avoiding customer experience failures. If you are unclear on where and when the problem surfaces – you are too late. Oftentimes, companies make the customers work too hard for what they want. This can either be through a lengthy checkout process or non-user-friendly navigation design on the website, sparking customer frustrations. These sparks can lead to fires, so understanding the problem as it surfaces (or better yet, before) will be key to adding value to your customers.
Providing Superior Customer Experience
Customers expect personalized, timely, effortless and rewarding experiences across all channels. They don’t just want to be able to call a company whenever they want – they want to be able to interact with the company regardless of the device or platform they use, and they expect it now.
- Understand your user. Start with journey maps – a form of user research where you identify the customers journey – aiming to understand where they are, with empathy.
- Align the customer journey with the tech you have. Ensure you aren’t creating friction points along the way, which adding technology can often do when not implemented in the right way. Over investment is the downfall of many good customer experiences and has a direct impact to business profits.
- Validate and test. Validating the needs with real customers and testing how your improvements are being received will add the most value to and will identify any gaps or friction your customers are facing. This can be done in a number of ways like usability tests, observations, surveys, or data mining.
By delivering a frictionless customer experience that is smoother and more positive for the customer, retention rates will improve and new customer acquisitions will rise.