Finding out what customers want and figuring out how to give them exactly that — whether it’s a product or service — is the holy grail of successful business. In order to achieve both, you need to be able to anticipate customers’ needs and desires through digital technology like mobile apps, responsive web properties, and customer communities. The point of creating breakthrough digital moments is to enable your company to sell and service customers at every touchpoint — an ability that hinges on these 5 things:
Great mobile apps
Nowadays, our phones are loaded with apps for everything from food delivery to on-demand ridesharing. In order to differentiate, a mobile app needs to be geo-smart (i.e., provides location services and digital mapping capabilities), social, and helpful. If customers can get what they need when they need it, get real-time support from a real person, and/or get help from a self-service channel, they’ll be more satisfied and engage more (e.g., provide actionable feedback through surveys, buy more, tell their friends) in the future.
According to Forrester Research, self-service channels have seen a spike in usage in the last couple of years; in the U.S., online forum/community usage jumped from 31 percent in 2012 to 50 percent in 2014. There are several benefits that come with providing your customers with a social, peer-to-peer customer community. Connecting customers creates an emotional, educational experience for customers and reduces the need for employee support, freeing up your workers to add more strategic value. Happy, informed customers also make the best brand advocates via surveys and social media.
Everyone goes to a shop or restaurant, engages with a brand on social media, or spends money with a company online from time to time. Those are all great ways to further monetize the experience through gamified loyalty programs, like those offered by Sephora and Yelp. Giving customers fun programs that reward them for their brand loyalty (e.g., app-based check-in deals for free gifts with a purchase or discounts given when a survey is taken) promotes marketing buzz and repeat business.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is here, and it’s an important part of the current and future Customer Experience. IoT is about connectivity, both literally and figuratively; it affects consumer goods and services from health-related wearables to connected cars. Say you run a medicine supply company that delivers prescriptions to people’s homes. Through the magic of IoT, customers could not only track their prescriptions on your snazzy smartphone app; they could also track their daily dosage and get timely reminders about refills, and then even have refills sent automatically — without hassle or worry. That kind of connectivity can do more than excite people. Depending on the industry, it can transform their daily life and enhance their relationship with your business.
Targeted, personalized marketing
Sure, customers want great products and services, but they also want to feel understood. That’s a must-have in positive customer-company interactions. Highly sophisticated customer touchpoints such as up-to-date customer data available across the organization and real-time, multichannel support are key elements of a targeted Customer Experience. They provide consistent, omni-channel support (a multichannel approach that provides a customer with a seamless experience across all devices) — something today’s consumers have come to expect from digital businesses.
It’s time for a seamless, hassle-free Customer Experience that benefits your customers and your workers. Get more information on optimizing and personalizing the Customer Experience from our ebook, The Digital Customer Experience Strategy Guide.