The customer experience (CX) has come into sharp focus over the last twelve months – not least as one of the best and most authentic ways to establish trust, consolidate brand values and drive growth.
At SAP CX Live earlier this month, there were plenty of discussions around the idea of operating within a customer-experience economy, especially referencing the increasing influence of AI, Big Data and IoT on the subject of how we successfully engage with consumers. But, one of the main takeaways for us was that while businesses are assessing the many channels by which information, products and services can be most effectively delivered to customers, consumers themselves are altogether more focused on the overall quality of their journey – the consistency of the end-to-end experience.
Which is why starting with (rather than ending up at) the customer experience is so crucial – if we can focus on optimising the CX, we can benefit from customer interactions that are specifically driven by the quality of the experience.
Consumers’ behaviour is informed by how well their expectations are met – particularly in the ‘always on’ world we now inhabit. If trust is fostered by enjoying repeatedly and reliably good experiences – across multiple channels – it follows that brands can leverage the quality of the customer experience as a key differentiator: as something that actually sets their proposition apart from the competition.
However, even if a brand has all its offline ducks in a row, it can still be hamstrung by an underwhelming online user experience. And, with online engagement becoming increasingly complex, it’s not uncommon for a significant gap to develop between the brand’s commitment to delivering a flawless UX and its realisation. With businesses craving the agility necessary to release new features quickly in order to transform the CX, there’s a real danger that inadequate website testing programmes will simply be overlooked, creating the potential for increased errors that are more than capable of wiping out any corresponding uptick in conversions.
Optimising the customer experience is challenging. You’ll need to leverage all your website’s touchpoints in order to create the best possible value from your customers’ perspective. Ironically, the more content you enable – especially if it includes multiple third-party components – the more difficult it is to deliver a smooth CX. The same principle applies to personalising the experience: customers love it, but they don’t want it to impede their progress.
Our experience shows that frictionless engagement is a pie-in-the-sky ambition unless a rigorous approach to performance testing is maintained. If you are determined to put the customer first, keeping the CX wrinkle-free is essential. A regular testing schedule will help you stay ahead of the curve – but only if performance is monitored in a way that tracks if, how and where the CX is being adversely impacted.
The thinkTribe approach replicates the customer experience by engaging in hundreds of real-life journeys to deliver actionable insights that can be used to improve performance. We believe it’s the logical way to put the customer front and centre in a rapidly changing, consumer-led economy.