Creating a memorable customer experience is fast becoming a top priority for businesses – and for good reason, says Reynhardt Uys, Chief Experience Officer, Immersion Group. He notes that customers no longer base their loyalty on price or product alone. Instead, they stay and spend with companies based on the overall experience they receive. “Quite simply, organisations who fail to adopt a customer-centric approach risk lagging behind competitors who have already become customer-obsessed.”
While research shows 86% of buyers are willing to pay more for a great customer experience, Uys says there are several common mistakes that can derail efforts at personalisation and the customer journey. “Developing an unmatched customer experience involves applying the most appropriate methodologies and expertise in the right areas of focus, from customer research data teams to marketing and operations, user experience design and development teams, to name just a few.”
Of critical importance is first cultivating a good understanding of the business goals and objectives. “There is risk in investing in a solution before truly understanding the problem,” explains Geoffrey Hardy, Head of Digital at Immersion Group “Many gimmicks and solutions promise ROI, lead generation in abundance, return customers, brand loyalty and so much more. However, real customer data, which will inform relevant usable customer insights, will be your most powerful tool – proper research and analytics, informed reporting and a great CRM will help create a successful solution that is aligned to your business and customer needs.”
According to Uys, a common error many organisations make is not investing the time and effort required to truly understand the customer. “How do you become the best milkshake in the country without knowing what flavour and recipe your customers want and prefer? And how do you serve your customers through a platform you don’t yet know they’ll be comfortable using or a method of payment they feel safe completing?”
Aside from relying solely on tech solutions to fill organisational gaps and solve customer pain points, Hardy says that businesses tend to place too much emphasis on customer acquisition strategies and journeys and very little focus on the servicing side. “Despite sweeping changes in almost every industry, companies still rely on repeat business and loyal customers for success. This means that a large portion of focus needs to be on how to continuously bring customers to your brand, and keep them there for as long as possible. The aim should be to invite them into your space, have them forget time altogether, and not want to be anywhere else.”
Uys and Hardy agree that the only way to ensure customers are left with a positive experience they want to repeat again and again is to build a considered and complete end-to-end experience solution, instead of single journeys in isolation. “The world is changing, so are customers. Needs are evolving, customers are more demanding, challenges are increasing and what might have differentiated organisations in the past, may not be what differentiates them in the future,” says Uys.