Attention to customer experience has grown immensely in recent years, and for good reason. In our ever-increasing digital world, engagement with anyone can be the thread to creating a customer. Add to that people’s expectations of response times when they have an issue. Google answers any question in an instant. Social media’s real-time updates have created an “always-on” culture that expects 24/7 service. Top this off with ever-present smartphones that keep people connected with anyone at any time.
Are these situations only for consumer brands trying to please consumers en masse? It turns out that’s not the case. Research shows that people take these same expectations into the business world. Consumers who go online looking for help want a response fast – 66% of consumers expect a same-day response, 43% expect a response within an hour, and the Uber-demanding want a response in five minutes or less.
Expectations about response times are only part of the picture. People also expect a consistent experience when they hope from device to device. For example, they may have a delightful chat with a brand through social media one day, and then become frustrated when a salesperson doesn’t know the conversation the next day.
When people do take time to put away their device, what they take away from the interaction is the experience that they had. From the brand side, this is a loud-and-clear message that it’s time to focus on customer value. The wild card, however, is how customers define that value. In most cases it’s based on what emotions drive them. Are they feeling bold and want someone to help emblazon them? Are they shy buyers who need a brand to instill more confidence in their decision?
Smart companies dig deep into customer behavior so they can understand emotions and what’s behind them. Then they thoughtfully design experiences that answer the questions and solve the problems. That’s how they’re able to put negative emotions to the wayside. That’s also the secret to fostering strong customer relationships in the new age of experiences.
Educated buyers now control the sales process, that’s for sure. No one relies on a salesperson’s ability to deliver information to get the ball rolling. But most sales organizations are stuck in the past, using modern technology just to try and squeeze their way in.
The hurdle isn’t just getting connecting with consumers at the right time. Instead, it’s being able to deliver consistent digital experiences that build trust. Too many companies put the spotlight on customer service instead of customer experience, but there’s a big difference. Customer experience is what people believe will happen when they interact with a brand. Customer service is the catch net to try and fix the problem when they don’t deliver.
There’s only one way top companies can deliver a stellar customer experience: They must intimately analyze their customers’ journey from beginning to end. Taking a fresh view from their customers’ perspective is the only way to combat engrained legacy processes. By investing time to understand customer needs, wants, and feelings, brands have the power to design experiences that build trusted relationships.
How can you use technology to deliver remarkable experiences in a world of evolving customer expectations? Read the free eGuide Managing Customer Relationships in the New Age of Experiences to learn how.