The Evolution Of Customer Experience
Posted By: Brandon Mezsaros - CIO
The digital revolution has brought about a fundamental change to the way in which contemporary business models are built. With customer centricity now at the helm, customer experience models reflect an evolved version of what business intent used to be compared to what it is today.
Customer experience is described as a cumulative experience through which a customer interacts and transacts with your brand, products and services throughout the customer-supplier relationship. The experience is observed as a collective one, from the moment the customers need is identified and interest piqued, through to the actual transaction or conversion phase, to when the client relationship concludes.
Today, CX objectives seek to replicate and where possible augment an “in person” service, offering a custom-made, easy to access brand experience that carries the client through a consistent, straightforward customer lifecycle.
Progressive CX speaks a more modern language making use of words such as “On Demand”, “Omni-channel”, “WOM Advocacy” and “Big Data”. Each of these indicates the paradigm shift currently occurring in Customer Experience methodology and all support the transferral to a customer centric approach.
In order to observe the shift in CX intent, it’s worth unpacking these newfound focus areas to appreciate how the approach has been altered to enrich the customer’s passage through each phase in the CX lifecycle.
On Demand Customer Experience
Following a comprehensive target market research, customer buyer persona profiling and customer journey mapping, businesses are in a more empowered position to offer a “made-to-order” solution to the client’s exact needs. OCX (on demand customer experience) follows a Design – Build – Operate- Transfer approach which awards the client with a tailor made solution following a “Pay as You Use” design. On demand CX enhances the customer’s journey, offering a refined product and service solution that addresses the customer need, meets the expectations, at a price point that is predictable and transparent, while backing a customer centric promise.
Through the process of customer journey mapping, channels and touchpoints, through which customers subscribe to during the various phases of the customer lifecycle, are a fundamental undertaking in pursuit of extraordinary CX. In the past, focus was applied to bowling the market with multi-channel deployment. Because of the rapid expansion in channel touchpoints and 2-way communication expectations, a shift to omni-channel experience is needed. An omni-channel approach delivers a consistent customer experience throughout the continuum of channels and channel touchpoints. The approach allows for the customer to begin a transaction on one channel and move through various other channels and touchpoints during the transaction and be met with a consistent and continuous experience that is once again predictable, easy to access and use and where feedback and communication is reciprocated.
In the past a concentrated and singular measurement approach was applied to a customer experience model. Today while data is certainly still a key reflection of market response, brand advocacy and word of mouth referrals have gained greater influence in measuring brand equity. Traditional marketing tactics are today, less influential at effecting a customer conversion compared to the authority that is transferred by word of mouth recommendations, testimonials, forum discussions and social media community engagement. Peer to peer feedback, criticism, recommendations and complaints have a far greater impact on measuring a brands equity than ever before and affect a more certain conversion rate of customers already in the consideration and investigation phase of the customer experience lifecycle.
Many organisations have a sizable amount of unstructured customer data, gathered through each channel and touchpoint during each phase in the CX lifecycle. Such data can be both complex and traditional in nature which is why it can be considered unstructured or for a lack of better word - disorganised data. When a business applies effort to the extraction and overlay of data across all entry points, the power of big data is harnessed. Big data is able to reveal patterns and repetitive occurrences, both good and bad, that customer is experiencing. Pain points and obstacles, opportunities, competitive advantages and areas of improvement are uncovered at each juncture of the lifecycle through the active structuring of big data.
To take advantage of how CX has evolved as technology sky-rockets, communication progresses and true customer experience forms the foundation for sustainability, businesses need to become comfortable with opening up, reaching out and welcoming in all forms and figures of customer engagement.