It’s High Time You Build a Human Customer Experience. Here’s how.
People are now pushing for human, meaningful interactions and won’t settle for anything else.
For years and years now, companies have been running behind cutting-edge technologies and sophisticated platforms to boost our customer experience. They have developed cloud-based tools, embedded AI in their big data efforts, implemented chatbots, and even installed IoT devices across their locations to better meet their customers’ demands. But, while doing so, many of them seemed to forget that customer experience is about engaging with their audiences in a meaningful way.
Sure, technology can definitely help with that but it’s clearly not enough. And all that’s coming from someone that collaborates with a South American software outsourcing company! But it’s the truth and, as such, it would be really unwise to ignore it. It appears as if companies have forgotten about a golden business rule — value should always come before sales. Now it’s time to reclaim that focus and rethink business strategies that are centered around trust and human connection.
Fortunately, not everything is lost. After going through the highly-challenging 2020, companies have the opportunity to reset themselves through comprehensive digital acceleration processes that integrate the latest technologies with a human approach. The change in the mindset is necessary for success moving forward — and here’s how you can do it.
Defining customer experience
Perhaps the best way to start this mindset shift is asking yourself: “What does customer experience mean to my company?” If that sounds too basic to you, think again. It’s highly important for you to check whether your company has become part of the crowd that thinks that customer experience equals customer service. Because if that’s what’s happening in your business, you need to understand that customer experience goes beyond what a single customer service department can and should do.
In reality, customer experience is a more comprehensive notion that encompasses every aspect of your relationship with your customers. That means it includes the moment where they first got interested in you and every little interaction they had with you ever since. Yes, there’s a whole story before you make your first sale to a lot of people and that story is what you should be paying attention to in order to enrich your customer experience.
There are a couple of takes in there. First, that every message you send out (from a simple tweet and a phone call with someone at the front desk to a massive billboard) is part of your customer experience and, as such, has to be customer-centric. And second, that all of your employees are responsible for building that relationship between your brand and your audience. In fact, each employee is an essential part of the CX, as every one of them is responsible for transmitting the brand’s message, values, and vision.
Understanding all that will put you in the right frame of mind to make any necessary changes you might have to make. Even if you’re already seeing CX under that light, it’d be wise for you to re-analyze your entire customer cycle to make sure that the experience is homogenous across it. You might find that there are departments that don’t feel that attached to that perspective and that you’ll have to make some adjustments.
Making the shift
Whether you see customer experience like that or not, you’ll have to make the mindset shift sooner rather than later. The explanation is simple — your customers will get that client-centric experience from other brands and they’ll have the same expectations for you. Failing to meet them will quickly push you aside. And that’s without considering that, after 2020, people are longing for more humanized interactions across the board.
So, how do you make the shift? There are 2 major aspects to it. The first one involves the interactions you have with the customers. People have now grown accustomed to seamless experiences powered by digital technologies. They can buy a pizza by tapping some buttons in their smartphones, can geospatially track their orders on a browser, they can visit homes for rent from their couches, and so. You have to offer the same level of comfort in a frictionless customer experience.
Fortunately, you can rely on technology to help you with that. Automating processes through AI, using cloud-based platforms, developing mobile apps, and using data-driven tools to get customer insights for your decisions are just a few of the many things you can do through a tech-driven approach. Without getting too much into it, your customer experience can become more sophisticated through a digital acceleration process.
But, as I said above, technology in and by itself won’t be enough. You need the human touch that you’ll only get with a corporate change pushed by you and materialized in your employees. That means you’ll have to tackle a double-folded process. First, you’ll need to foster a customer-centric culture in your organization. This might mean redefining processes, forming new innovation teams, instituting agile-led practices, and embracing ongoing training programs.
The second part implies understanding the following: employee experience is a part of the customer experience as well. You surely know by now that employees are internal customers and, as such, they expect the same as the “outside” customers. So, you have to make sure that your employees also crave that frictionless experience while doing their jobs. You can provide them that by implementing new technologies that relieve them from the burden of the most repetitive and boring tasks and allowing them to focus on the customer-centric efforts.
You should also offer your employees spaces and instances to provide their feedback and make their contributions to the overall improvements. By doing that, you’ll make them feel valued and, at the same time, make them an integral part of the business you conduct day after day. Both of those things will elevate their commitment to the customer-centric vision which, in turn, will improve your customer experience.
Back to the basics
If something (or everything) you’ve read so far rings a bell, that’s because there’s nothing really new in here. People have always expected the best possible experience when interacting with brands. They don’t want to wait for responses, they don’t want to have issues, they don’t want to complain, they don’t want to be treated as an afterthought. That has always been that way. What’s different, though, is that all of those considerations are back at the center stage, a place they shouldn’t have ever left.
If there’s a silver lining in the pandemic’s impact, that has to be that. People are now pushing for human, meaningful interactions and won’t settle for anything else. That’s forcing all businesses to make a shift towards a customer-centric approach that’s a long time coming. And there’s no better moment to do that than today, where the business landscape as a whole is evolving and redefining itself and inviting everyone to do it as well.
You can accept that invitation and be part of the future. Or you can’t refuse it and sit to watch how everyone else passes you by. Now tell me — what’s your choice?