What do my customers want?
The savviest business leaders need to ask themselves this question. Today’s companies know they’re in the customer experience business, and they’re beginning to recognize how they deliver to their customers is just as important as what they deliver. The modern customer experience goes above and beyond customer service, and integrates customer preferences and expectations into each consumer-brand touchpoint.
Customer expectations are constantly changing. 67% of customers say their standards for good experiences are higher than ever. To win hearts and wallets, companies must not only deliver impeccable marketing, sales, ecommerce, and service interactions, but they also need to prove their customers’ best interests are a top priority.
Here are some of the top customer experience trends today’s business owners should keep in mind.
Cater Experiences to Digital Devices
Although consumers are deep into the mobile-site-adoption curve, many businesses are still playing catch-up. As a company strategizes its website or other means of digital communications, it should think critically about the mobile experience and how customers will interact with the company from their many devices.
Gallup reported that more than half of millennials “cannot imagine living without” their smartphones. The vast majority of today’s consumers have been digitally wired since childhood, so they depend on their devices to service a variety of needs. Because of the speed and ease offered by smartphones, today’s consumers make buying decisions in a matter of minutes.
When businesses establish a digital strategy, they should be sure to incorporate the “mobile-first” way of thinking. Aside from developing a website that can cater to mobile formats or use social media, business owners must consider the ways in which a consumer would use their mobile devices. Is your pizza restaurant included in the top results when consumers search for “pizza near me?” Are you equipped with capabilities that allow users to interact with you on their smart speaker? Consumers are increasingly using emerging mobile-based technologies like these at a rapid pace, so businesses must meet consumer expectations.
Protect Customer Data and Information
Although today’s consumers have come to expect and prefer a personalized experience that’s tailored to their specific wants and needs, they also fear this level of personalization will compromise their personal data. PwC reports that just 25% of consumers believe most companies handle their sensitive personal data responsibly. The stark reality is: consumers don’t trust businesses as much as they used to, and when businesses can’t prove they can protect their customers’ sensitive data and use it responsibly, they can’t harness the value of that data to offer customers a better experience.
As the frequency and scale of data breaches continue to rise, so do consumer worries. Companies must understand and address these concerns or risk losing valuable business. In order to use consumer data in the most positive way possible, companies must prioritize the safety of this sensitive information.
Data management is a critical process involving accessing and securing business data, but it might not be top-of-mind for marketing professionals. Companies like Oracle, for example, have developed the use of automated databases, which self-secure, tune, and perform other operations, without requiring manual work from humans. These systems can automate data management, safeguarding customer data and securing their trust.
Provide Immediate and Responsive Service
As connectivity becomes ubiquitous and customers grow used to conversational interactions with brands, immediacy has become vital. As the millennial generation takes over the majority of the consumer population, real-time responses will become critical for customer experience success. Failure to respond to customer questions or inquiries in an adequate time frame will negatively impact the customer’s experience, the likelihood of a sale, and brand loyalty. In turn, the company’s sales and profits will be negatively impacted.
In the first instance of customer contact, be sure to enact a 360-degree view of the customer and their concerns so there is enough understanding for an accurate response. Businesses may also want to consider deploying chatbots or other AI-powered technology, which can boost the response rate and satisfy consumer needs more quickly and efficiently.
Mastering the concept and execution of exceptionally good customer experience is a challenge. However, it’s an essential requirement for success in today’s environment, where customers wield growing power. Positive customer experience not only results in favorable brand recall, but it can also lead to additional business success in the future.
Marie Johnson is a contributor to Enlightened Digital, UX Designer and technology writer from New York City. If she’s not writing her latest blog post in her kitchen, you’ll likely find her strolling through Central Park, cappuccino in hand.