To create distinctive customer experiences, businesses need to push the boundaries and adopt next-generation thinking in six key areas.
Some companies are moving fast to adapt, applying a range of approaches to improve customer experiences. A great experience that delights customers and earns their loyalty is needed. Improving a customer experience from merely average to something that wows the customer can lead to a 30/50% increase in measures such as likelihood to renew or to buy another product.
Here are six areas discussed at a recent Business Exposure Group meeting.
- Measure customer behaviour and spend time with customers to understand them
Companies need to empathize with customers when they experience difficulties and obstacles.
This means embracing new techniques for understanding customer journeys. Such approaches allow companies to uncover new insights that allow them to design and deliver truly great customer experiences.
One of our Business Exposure Group members is an insurance broker specialising in the farming community. He was developing a new product and took time out to observe the daily activities of farmers.
He learnt that farmers are pressed for time but also very tech savvy, relying heavily on PCs and mobile devices in their daily activities. He had originally planned to market his new product through traditional channels, but lessons learned from an observation trip led him to create a digital solution, which allowed farmers to gather information and buy policies online at night and at weekends.
- Designing the complete customer experience
Design is not about making devices and screens look pretty. True customer-experience design involves each interaction customers have with your company. Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.
To design a customer journey, companies must enlist everyone who has an impact on any part of a customer’s journey, not just people with the word “design” in their title—in particular operations and IT.
A Business Exposure Group member has a marketing agency whose client specialises in visitor attractions. After a 12 month effort to root out pain points in the experience of visitors to theme parks, their clients introduced wrist bands. These brightly coloured wristbands allow visitors to board rides, pay for meals and gifts. More important, the bands and the technology behind them—which is in every part of the attraction—allow visitors to select exactly what they want to see and do in advance. That has helped turn a day out from a series of highlight attractions interrupted by waiting in line to a smooth end-to-end experience.
- Completely rethink the customer experience
The focus is addressing customer needs, not improving a process. Many of our members bring in people who are not normally involved in the business to encourage fresh thinking. Looking at the best experiences employed in other industries can be extremely enlightening.
- Become an agile organisation
Managers responsible for developing new offerings need the authority to make decisions quickly and to hold staff accountable.
One of the Business Exposure Group members who has an IT software company shifted entirely to cloud technologies, which allowed new software developed by their team to go live on the clients websites in a matter of seconds. By making the whole organisation agile, the IT company dramatically reduced time to market for their clients products and services.
- From delivering a product to constant tweaking
Many businesses figure out what new product or service offering they want to create for customers and then launch pilots.
It’s impossible to know in advance how an experience will be embraced by customers. It’s better to launch sooner with fewer features and a simpler interface and learn what works, based on real customer input.
Using this approach, one of the Business Exposure Group members was able to build a new tablet-based app in just 6 weeks. It then tweaked new versions based on user feedback, improving the process. After these tweaks, the app was scaled across new markets and more products within the company’s range.
- Working together spontaneously
Companies need to push their people to move beyond traditional roles and work together to reinvent customer journeys. Improvements come from having motivated, empowered frontline employees driven by clear purpose.
Many of our members are working hard to reinvent their customers’ journeys. The ones that win will be those that push the boundaries and adopt new practices.