“The main focus should be on a more personalized experience, proactive and fast customer service.”
Anja Wagner, social media marketing specialist
The mobile revolution has raised consumers’ expectations of how they communicate — not just with each other, but also with companies of all sizes. Today, customers expect a consumer-like experience in all of our interactions — whether buying a $30 Bluetooth speaker or a $1 million home.
How are organizations responding to this new mandate? We asked customer experience thought leaders what organizations are doing — and what they should do — to capitalize on this disruptive shift in how customers interact with business.
Consider this: In 2017, there are 4.92 billion individual mobile device users worldwide. Those people use just over 8 billion devices. In fact, there are today more mobile connections that people in the world.
And those devices are getting used for both business and personal use — in fact those lines are blurring for many folks, as mobility and cloud computing have made working — and shopping — from anywhere, anytime part of today’s reality. Customers today expect a personalized, instant experience whether they’re buying concert tickets or provisioning a cloud computing instance.
The continued growth in mobility promises that this expectation too will only grow.
“Research shows that the average organization is talking to their customers through, on average, nine different channels and that number is set to rise to eleven in the next 18-24 months,” points out Customer Experience/Service Consultant Adrian Swinscoe. “However, the challenge is that in the majority of cases most of the data from these channels are not connected to each other.”
He then offers a solution: “I think the key thing that companies need to get ahead of right now is removing barriers to cooperation and collaboration within their organizations and also connecting all of their data sources so they can finally achieve a unified view of the customer and start working towards the experience that their customers want.”
Increasingly, what they want can be boiled down to speed, and a personalized experience.Anja Wagner, social media marketing specialist, says “The main focus should be on a more personalized experience, proactive and fast customer service with the help of messenger chatbots as well as creating valuable content for your customers.”
How do we get there?
Dr. R. Kay Green, Senior Marketing Consultant at eDesign Consulting Ltd. says two considerations are key. “The primary step to enhancing the customer experience are through personalized mobile messaging coupled with direct interaction from the organization, such as customized messaging directly from the organization to the consumer.”
Green advocates a sweeping approach: “Customer feedback, offers, notifications, should all be implemented through messaging.”
Take the shopping experience for example. More than one in five of the world’s population shopped online in the past 30 days. Customer service and experience expertShep Hykenpoints out that “They are combining the in-store and online experience. They are looking at merchandise in a store and on their mobiles simultaneously. They are doing additional research, checking prices and more. The retailers that are customer-focused know this and provide their customers with an app that answers those questions and more.”
Behind the scenes
For organizations that want to use mobility and messaging to boost their customers’ experiences, the experts advised to pay attention to the back end details.
The Sepharim Group founder and president Bob Egan says put technology to work.
“Make self-provisioning simple and fast, automate as much as possible. Monitor device and app performance through AI. Continually use that data to optimize the user experience and performance.”
Will Kelly, technical writer, advises “seeking a cloud-based messaging solution that integrates with your current identity access management (IAM) solution. The mobile messaging app should be available from a public app store and follow the UI standards of the mobile OS.”
Alexander Hanialidis , Digital Marketing and Social Media recommends “following a design thinking approach in order to create an end-to-end experience for customers is a step towards enhancing CX.” And keep it personal. “Starting from a people perspective, using agile techniques and constantly monitoring and redesigning customer journeys provides companies opportunities of delighting their customers.”
Mobile messaging’s speed an agility means organizations can experiment, says Thomas Keil , Manager Field Marketing at SAS and big data expert. “Companies should investigate and more important test new approaches to customer service. Use chatbots and machine learning to free your customer facing contacts from boring routine work. And then invest in individual care!”
The ability to collect and analyze customers’ data will help organizations and customers. Says Anja Wagner, “Analyzing big data, which can now be gathered through multiple devices as well as customer feedback, is a great way to optimize customer experience.”
Those data-driven insights will help fine-tune the relationship, says Jeff Kaplan, Managing Director of THINKstrategies, Inc. “We’re looking for ways that we can customize our communications with the customer so that we don’t inundate them with irrelevant messages that turn them off. This means gathering lots of information based on their behavior that can give us valuable insight regarding their specific interests, concerns, needs and preferences.”
This is critical, because, as Dr. R. Kay Green points out, “We live in the age of messaging; personalization is king!”
Customers to advocates
Jonathan Rick, president of The Jonathan Rick Group, presents a contrast.
“There are two extremes to the customer experience. On one hand, you have the Google approach, which sets the bar high. Google throws down a gauntlet of questions before you can ask the company a question. This somewhat laborious process weeds out the queries” that people could figure out themselves, but don’t.
He adds, “On the other hand, you have the approach taken by companies like Zappos, Buffer, and Slack. These companies make it as easy as possible for customers to contact them. In today’s age, companies that employ the Zappos approach tend to have more loyal customers. That’s because these companies turn their customers into advocates, who sing the company’s praises to their colleagues and friends.”
Finally, Joel Comm, marketing expert, urges organizations to be creative.
“Many brands are rushing to create apps, but they should do so only if the app creates a new and engaging experience, and isn't just a rehash of their mobile website. With a little creativity and simple on-boarding of customers, an app can be a great way to form deeper connection. Ideally, there will be a loyalty component attached to any action taken by the customer.”