In my experience, the state of Customer Experience

A few months ago, I shifted in my work to focus on Customer Experience of a personal insurance comparison and transaction platform. This confirmed that with CX, the devil is really in the details and this change made me aware of my own experiences with brands.

Which ride-hailing service I prefer and why…

In Singapore, we have a few ride-hailing services such as Uber & South-East Asian version Grab. They both offer the same service in getting the customer from A to B in a safe and convenient manner. Still why does my wife — and actually myself — prefer Uber over Grab? For starters, the app which one uses to book the ride feels more futuristic and more accurate. To be honest, feelings aren’t the only deciding factor… Price is a big influencer: if Grab would be SGD 5 cheaper I would go with that one. If the price is only SGD 2 difference, I would go for Uber. Why? The cars seem cleaner, the driver greets you, and somehow it feels safer. The experience feels more convenient. Here is the thing, experience is not so easy to describe and put in words. But it determines why we prefer one brand over another. That’s why organisations have to put the customer first and also work on the experience a customer has at every online and offline touchpoint.

Cleanliness in the hotel sauna

Recently I had another experience that got me thinking. I stayed in a 4,5-star business hotel and made use of the sauna followed by an ice-cold shower. On Tuesday evening, I found a used toothbrush and toothpaste tube in the shower. The next day at the same time, I was surprised to still find the same. After I took the shower on Wednesday I saw a cleaner in the area and mentioned it to him since I really don’t find this to be very hygienic. If the cleaner doesn’t spot garbage, what else don’t they spot? This small occurrence in a 3-day hotel stay changed my perception and was a negative experience on that touchpoint. It is hard to control and optimise every touchpoint, but it is what makes a customer return or stay away.

How does your target group experience your brand?

Firstly, what is customer experience (CX)? It is the product of an interaction between an organisation and a (potential) customer over the duration of their relationship. This interaction is made up of two parts:

· the customer journey

· the online and offline brand touchpoints the customer interacts with

CX is a result of interactions and can only be of use when it is systematically measured over time. A good CX means that the individual’s experience during all points of contact matches the individual’s expectations.

CX has certainly gotten more attention in organisations over the last decade or two. It is not new, back in the day personal selling was more common. One of the traits that a good sales man or consultative seller has, is to control the experience and of course steer towards a conversion or transaction in such a way that the customer receives a solution to a problem.

Shifting focus to CX

There is a multitude of examples to mention. Everyone has good and bad experiences with brands and organisations. Eventually it all comes down to the fact that it pays off to focus resources on improving Customer Experience. Remember, a bad experience or review will be easily shared and people make a decision based on that which impacts the organisation. It’s just the same when people have a positive experience at one of your organisations touchpoints, they will remember that.

By now you should be convinced about the power of CX. If not, ask yourself: “why do you keep going back to the same restaurant, buy a car of the same brand, use the same airline, same shampoo? What makes you come back or keep buying?” Yes, a very positive experience with that product or service’s touchpoint.

How to improve the CX?

Prophet has done research on Customer Experience. First of all: simple, is good! In this day and age, life is already complicated enough. If your product or service has a simple to use solution to a problem your target group has, that will be beneficial. Think of: simple processes, fewer steps, easier language, a simple site or app, less questions or simpler form, and less clicks or pop-ups.

Secondly, engagement is crucial since people are interacting with your brand and the organisation. A richer experience intensifies the relationship and therefore engagement between people and your organisation via sharable or likable content, moments, offline experiences and such. Think of: exclusive offers, personalisation and knowing what your customers really want, loyalty programs with offers, offer to let them participate in product/ service design and development and beta testing. Let your customers feel, that you understand their needs and that you have something that they crave to need to solve their problem.

Measuring CX

When a customer bought your service or product ask them either personally or via a simple questionnaire these 3 simple questions.

· The Net Promotor Score (NPS): It gives you one a 1 to 10 (best) scale if your customer would recommend you product or service to a friend. Do note that not all cultures rate the same as USA (where this metric was created).

· Customer Effort Score (CES): Get insight on did a customer find what they were looking for.

· Overall Satisfaction: A third questions would answer how visitors rate the overall experience.

There are more metric you can utilise, but these 3 will give you a good base line on CX

Takeaway

In short, it is the customer and the customer only! That should be every brand and organisation’s focus point. If you nail that, the rest will follow. Is it easy? No! Is it mandatory? Yes!

CX touches every part of the organisation from security employee at your front desk to the CEO, to social media posts, your call centre and service employee and your product and service itself.

The next step is to start making a customer journey map to identify the touchpoints and start measuring them, so you know what you could improve on. Hungry for more info? There will be more to explore in the next article.

Alexis van Dam

Member of ExperTeasers Group is a Slack.com hosted platform where (non-)similar people meet each other for exchanging ideas, views and insights in the areas of media, marketing, communication, innovation, organization and entrepreneurship. Not only sharing information, but especially the discussions lead to better results. Experteasers Group stimulates dialogue, feeds the conversation and inspires thought formation outside of its own frameworks. Different, better, durable.