Customers are the lifeline of a business.
And not just that. Customers are more informed than ever, and demanding. They are constantly interacting with brands across multiple touchpoints, expecting more out of their journey. Every single interaction matters - any negative experience can impact how they perceive a brand.
This is why modern businesses are striving to provide customer experiences to maintain a competitive edge. Think about it - what do Apple, Disney and Tesla have in common? They focus on knowing more their customers. Not just any customer, a business should aim to turn their customers into delightful customers. Because increasing customer delight increases loyalty. And loyal customers keep coming back for more, and spread a positive word about a brand.
This is where Customer Experience Management comes into the picture.
Gartner, Inc. defines Customer Experience Management (CEM) as “the practice of designing and reacting to customer interactions to meet or exceed customer expectations and, thus, increase customer satisfaction, loyalty and advocacy.”
In today’s digital era, focusing on the customer journey is of utmost importance. Moreover, delivering a seamless and consistent experience at every single interaction across all channels is imperative. Despite this, a majority of companies have still not yet matured in terms of implementing an effective customer experience strategy.
Here are 3 Customer Experience Management strategies you can use to supercharge your business:
Use Mobile to Reach Customers Anytime, Anywhere & Drive Engagement
The internet went crazy when they saw a woman walking and talking into something that looks like a cell phone in Charlie Chaplin’s silent film, The Circus (1928), debating the possibilities of time travel. Fast forward to today, and you’d be surprised to find someone who does not own mobile or cell phone.
Probably the best invention of the 20th century, the mobile revolution has had the greatest economical and cultural impact on the lives of people, than any other disruptive event (except, perhaps, the industrial revolution). Mobile apps and devices have enabled business to systematically reach out to better target and connect with their customers, and gather information about them as well. Moreover, customers who don’t have a pleasant mobile experience likely won’t engage with a business in the future.
Businesses can use mobile to improve customer experiences. One of the best ways is to offer personalized content on mobile devices to customers, connecting with them on a much deeper level. Another way is to collect feedback after the user completes an action - such as completing a purchase or opening an email.
One thing is certain - the future of customer experience literally lies in the hands of the people. 2017 has witnessed a rise in business incorporating mobility into business processes and solutions, such as enabling users to be more productive by working anytime from any location. Furthermore, mobility has proved to be a powerful tool for driving engagement between businesses and consumers.
Here’s something to think about - a user has willingly taken the initiative to install your app and further engage with you. Your business is literally in his pocket! Are you effectively using it to drive engagement and know more about your him? If not, you’re not showing him that you care enough.
Use Social Innovation to Create Emotional Connections
From Tom Anderson being everyone’s first friend on Myspace to spammy Orkut profiles, social media has come a long way. It has allowed the average user to voice his opinion and engage with others around the globe with super ease. Whether it's social selling, chatbots driven by artificial intelligence providing customer service, or virtual reality MMORPGs, something else is certain about the future - the key to innovation is social.
Social innovation is a key differentiator for companies looking to gain an edge over their competition. Let’s face it - customer demands are rising, and it won’t stop rising in the future. Businesses who consistently innovate to meet the ever-increasing demands of their customers gain a considerable edge over their competition. The incorporation of social media into business processes results in transformed customer experiences, and service & engagement levels.
Why social innovation, you ask?
If a company does not focus on social media, unhappy customers can spread negative reviews and ruin a brand’s online reputation. And, if you’ve been keeping up with recent social media fiascos, you know any business doesn’t want to deal with a disaster on any social media channel. For this reason, some businesses heavily focus on online reputation management to keep a positive brand image.
Here’s how a brand should use social innovation to improve their CEM:
- Monitor social media channels using social media listening tools to better understand the target audience and uncover any pain points
- Proactively engage with customers on social media channels to create an emotional connection between the brand and the customer
- Integrate social media into your business to provide a holistic customer view
- Provide timely customer support and service on a variety of social media channels
Social media is also turning into a rapid enabler of business growth and engagement, especially in emerging markets. Social media platforms that started as startups, such as Facebook and Twitter, have emerged as some of the world’s most powerful companies, considering the enormous number of users that use the platform actively to find and connect with people and brands. Not surprisingly, New York Magazine once ran a story with the title - The World’s Most Powerful Man Meets Barack Obama - citing the former President’s dinner with top Silicon Valley executives such as Steve Jobs, Eric Schmidt, and Mark Zuckerberg.
Don’t believe us? Just take a look a some user statistics: At the start of 2017, Facebook boasted 1.86 billion active users, Twitter had 319 million active users, LinkedIn had 467 million active users, and Instagram had 600 million active users. In fact, nearly 22% of all the time spent on the world wide web was on social media platforms.
Adopt the Cloud to Reduce Costs and IT Dependency
Cloud computing is the process of using remote servers, instead of local ones, to store, manage and process data. First conceptualized by Larry Ellison of Oracle in the 1990s and popularised by the likes of Salesforce, cloud computing has revolutionized all aspects of the IT industry.
Companies looking to optimize their customer journeys and deliver superior experiences often invest in CRM & Case Management systems to automate their customer relationship building process. Although this might seem like a worthy investment, these systems can cost quite a bit. And, considering upgrades and maintenance costs, companies can expect to spend a considerable amount of money on such systems.
Enter the cloud. Cloud computing offers tremendous benefits for companies - it allows them to host and process data offshore, rather than investing towards in-house IT infrastructure. This has proved to be a cost-effective way of providing software and services in the modern era. Additionally, it provides the operational flexibility and scalability needed to innovate services to build customer relationships in a better fashion.
In recent times, we are witnessing increased cloud computing adoption by companies of all sizes. In fact, Whether we realize it or not, the cloud is all around us - from Facebook’s artificial intelligence capabilities to Over-the-Air (OTA) updates in Tesla’s self driving cars. Gartner predicts the public cloud services market will become a $246.8 billion industry in 2017, with IDC predicting the annual global spend on the public cloud alone to increase to $141 billion by 2019.
However, when cloud computing was just getting mainstream, many debated the use of the public cloud due to lack of security. The concept is simple - as data is stored on the servers of the cloud provider, it is at risk of being breached or intercepted by hackers.
In fact, there was a time Sony Corporation was forced to use paper and tape to communicate information, after most of their systems were compromised by a hacker group calling themselves the Guardians of Peace (GOP). They publically released more than 100 terabytes of sensitive data of 6,000 Sony employees, severely damaging the company’s reputation, and resulting in more than $35 million in IT damages. Even their Twitter account was hacked.
However, with the boom in enterprise cloud computing, security is no longer a major concern for companies moving their business to the cloud. Gartner predicts public cloud Infrastructure-as a-Service (IaaS) workloads to have 60% lesser security incidents as compared to traditional data centers. More CIOs are willing to adopt the public cloud more than ever before for hosting enterprise software.
Are you using the power of customer experience management to supercharge your business? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below.