Businesses no longer set their own strategies--customers do. Welcome to the age of the customer where consumers are more empowered than ever before because they can access information about products and services online in real-time.
Although the term customer experience (CX) has become popular over the past few years, it has always existed in your business regardless if you were conscious of it or not. Customer experience is collectively defined as the way prospective and existing customers experience your company and brand. This includes everything from what they experience on your website to the interactions they have with your various service departments.
Technology has impacted every part of the human experience from our internal patience to what we expect from others externally. When we're trying to show someone a web page or something on social media and it doesn't load "fast enough" we get easily irritated and wonder why it took all of 20 seconds to load. Perhaps worse, when we have a question about a product or are interested in working with a company and can't find what we need, we are irritated once again that we can't find what we need, when we need it and lose interest.
How The Digital Age Has Been A Catalyst For Customer Experience
Consumer expectations of customer experience are founded upon technologies ability to give us what we want, when we want it, with little to no effort on their end. Although all industries are impacted by this shift, the retail and financial industry have been on the front lines when experiencing this customer demand for digital support. Whether you want to purchase jeans or to transfer money, everyone uses online payment services which require real-time support. From live access to account information, customer reviews, digital signing services like Docusign, or in-app chat, these digital features can help to create a frictionless and effortless environment for customers.
With technology shortening the string on our patience and our incessant need for information in an instant, digital support has shaped and impacted the type of experience customers are looking for--and if you don't provide it, someone else will. Salesforce's "State of the Connected Customer" report found that 70% of consumers report that technology has made it easier than ever to take their business elsewhere and has enabled them to easily go with another brand to find an experience that matches their expectations.
How Digital Support Has Changed Consumer Behavior & Expectations
Consumers are stepping into their new found power of influence over the brands they choose to do business with and they are not shy about it either. If consumers don't get the experience they want, they use social media platforms to vocalize it whereas 20 years ago, before CX went digital, there wasn't a widely used public arena for them to vent. With 3 billion active social media users worldwide, companies know that careless customer service will catch like wildfire on their social channels and have the ability to deter future sales. The Global Web Index claims that 28% of time spent online is social networking and that we expect instant feedback on this channel because we use it for socializing with friends and expect the response time to be continued when engaging with brands.
We have written about the importance of social support and how to carry it out successfully, so make sure to catch up to help you avoid common mistakes.
Consumer expectations have been influenced by the high bars set by other brands they do business with. Consumers base their expectations for experience on what other companies can do and wonder why you can't do it too. Although this may seem unfair because consumers don't understand the cost and bandwidth of doing digital support, they do have a good point. With the power of business and customer intelligence that can be gathered using a plethora of tools and analytics, all companies have the power to understand the customer journey better than ever before. Through understanding the customer journey, this can help you shape and create the experience your customers are craving.
The First Thing a Company Should Do to Implement A Digital CX
The first thing you should know is that implementing a digital customer experience is a journey, not a race. Like any good journey, you need a comprehensive roadmap to get started and of course, a customer-centric company backed by technology. Here are 2 ways to help you get started with your roadmap:
#1 The Customer Journey: A common problem we have seen is that customer data is not being captured correctly and in turn, disables companies from realizing true customer drivers. While understanding the customer journey through data, you should ask your team how customers are currently engaging with you (email, phone, etc.) and what are the most common inquiries you get on a daily basis. This exercise will shed light on what your customer's journey looks like.
#2 Internal and External Knowledge: This is another component that rides alongside understanding the customer journey--the availability and quality of your knowledge base. Having a knowledge base is perfect for self-service as it creates call deflection and can be used for chatbots and FAQ pages. This brings convenience to the customer experience and provides your customers with the autonomy to solve problems on their own.
Is your CX strategy not performing up to expectations? No worries, you're not alone. Get a quick CX health check with our strategy expert Nikkole Shamsuddin and make sure you never miss a beat with your customers again.