Who should we thank for the customer experience (CX) movement? Who is behind stimulating a focus on customer loyalty? On encouraging positivity surrounding any experience associated with a brand? To monitoring all touch points in a business process to ensure positive takeaways? Whoever it is, we’re here for it!
With Brand and Marketing experts saying the world over that customer experience is overtaking price as a key brand parameter, it is a hugely prevalent focus for any business. But what does CX entail? What qualifies an experience? And can you quantify its success? Or worse, its failure?
I think we can all agree, CX is a diverse and dynamic premise. But considering it is such a key focus around the world, and with small, medium and large organisations building customer experience centres, experience labs, and all sorts of other innovative experience-based environments for customers, clients and overall brand transformation; we felt it deserved some analysis.
How do we put customer experience at the forefront of all business operations, communications, marketing, outreach, retail, (insert sector here)?
Join us as we delve deeper into the CX movement, the CX mind frame, and sip on that CX kool-aid.
Let’s start with the why. Why is CX so important? Well according to UX Mag: “In today's world, customers expect companies to focus on experience.” Customers want to support people just as much as they want to support brands and businesses; and how do you get people to feel something? Experiences. Consumers want to feel something about the stories you tell, they want to support the ethics of brands, and they want the brands they support to stand for something. But this goes way beyond messaging and advertising; nothing can convert a positive feeling towards a business faster than a positive experience.
Gone are the days where the cheapest option wins (although this fast approaching COVID recession could change that!), customers would rather support and buy from a business who supports the environment, who shares similar morals to them. It’s a conscience-heavy consumer culture, and that has built a focus on experience, rather than products and services. To both attract customers, but also to gain strong, measurable business insights.
What do we mean? It’s no longer good enough to just release a new piece of technology. Customers want to feel it, test it, discuss it, and have a connection to it before purchase. With the introduction of VR, AR and MR this is heightened further. Consumers are desperate to experience a product or service before signing the dotted line. So, welcome then, customer experience centres and technology labs. Places to visit, test tech, experience content, discuss efficiencies, give feedback, and ultimately, immerse themselves in the world’s brands want us to experience. So we can see life through their gaze. Marketing in this day and age is firmly grounded in this experience culture.
Experience culture has many positives to it, and a key benefit for Marketing, Brand, Sales, Customer Services, and even Executives – is insights. A key takeaway from CX is the measurable insights it leaves you with. Whether it be in person feedback, or gamification to engage customer behaviours, or dynamic metric tools that take customers online where you can link to Google Analytics, and more. An experience culture can offer strong data that feeds into wider business decisions. Measured decisions, and decisions that are made with customers at the forefront.
“In an experience culture, action—whether it conforms to process or not—is more highly valued and encouraged. Having the flexibility to move, execute, and explore without fear, allows people the ability to develop solutions and learn from their own experiences. This proves invaluable the next time they're challenged to solve a problem. It promotes confidence by producing results, and by giving people a say in how those results were arrived at.” (UX Mag)
CX also goes beyond those dynamic, hands on customer experience centres, and marketing touch points. To meet high customer expectations, ‘a company's UX and CX efforts cannot be isolated in a single department, or in one or two positions. The experiences that resonate and are successful for customers are those that are seamless across all touchpoints; experiences should seem to originate from the whole company, not just from whichever department they sprung from within an organization… Every role within an organization should work together and towards the vision of how the brand interacts with its customers.’ (UX Mag)
One of the better analogies on a CX business approach is that your sales and customer success teams are cars on a road, your brand is the road – they work best together. Without a strong and stable brand, your sales and customer success teams will go off road.
So, I guess customer experience would be the look, feel and appreciation for that car, for the road, and for the journey overall.
Our very own CTO and Co-Founder, Will Cavendish said it best: “Technology is our vehicle, but content and data are our messenger.” Without a combination of these sensory storytelling tools, and without CX at the core of development, a business might lose sight of what their customers want, and what their customers will support.
So, who should we be thanking? Consumers, for shifting the paradigm of what a consumer journey looks like? Corporates, for honing in on customers and their feedback, feelings and needs? Popular culture, for demanding change and celebrating those who do what’s right for the greater good? Maybe all of the above?
One thing is for sure, the CX movement is still very much in its infancy. We look forward to seeing where it goes, where innovation and creativity take us, and where Pufferfish sit amongst it all. As raised by Ben Reubenstein, CEO of Wunderman Thompson Mobile; “The deeper takeaway? We need to rethink how we work together to create experiences.” (ibbonline)