Conversations with Marketers: Improving the Customer Experience

Three Marketers Discuss Customer Experience

At Kaizen, we obsess over how to improve the customer experience. Seeing the recent Econsultancy-Adobe study reinvigorated our discussion on the topic. The study ranked customer experience as “the most exciting marketing opportunity of 2015.”

Here are snippets and key takeaways on Customer Experience Optimization from three of our team members: Erik (COO and acting CMO), Vera (Optimization Evangelist) and Karen (Marketing Consultant).

How can marketers become stewards of the customer experience?

Map the customer journey. It’s hard to improve something you don’t have established groundwork for. It is important to design the customer journey across touch-points from your organization. As Erik puts it, “Highlight where you would like to create moments of incredible experience at each touchpoint.”

Create a feedback loop. Vera cites this example from Scott Adams of the Dilbert comic: “I started putting my e-mail address in the margin of the strip… I found out that there was a common theme: People loved it when Dilbert was in the office, and they liked it a lot less when he was at home…” This illustrates the importance of creating a feedback loop that enables brands to listen to and act on customer feedback.

Design the customer journey around use-cases. “Customer service and support divisions [often build] processes…built around activities within their divisions instead of around the customer’s use-case,” says Erik. This begs the question; what are your customer’s use-cases for contacting you at various points in the relationship?

Use the “friendship test”. According to a study in the Harvard Business Review, what makes people happy or unhappy with a brand is not one good or bad experience, but “cumulative experiences across multiple touchpoints and in multiple channels over time.” Karen points out that long-term friendships work in a similar way. When your best friend shows up late or forgets to call, you stick by him or her because of the context of the lifetime relationship. On the flipside, short-term friends forget critical details you’ve shared with them and often tell you the same stories repeatedly. “Brands can use the ‘friendship test’ to ask themselves: ‘Am I interacting with customers in a way where I am likely to build lifelong friends (customers), or short-term acquaintances (transactional buyers)?”

Acknowledge the gap between the customer and brand perspectives. Recognize that the brand and the customer see each touchpoint differently: “What if the customer of a telecom company is calling [customer] support to merge accounts with a family member? But the brand sees this touchpoint as a selling opportunity?” says Erik. It is okay that there is this gap, but brands need to be aware of it so that they can create a customer experience that is engaging and fulfills customer needs.

Managing the customer journey across touchpoints. Tying up the conversation with a bow, Erik concludes that “By understanding and designing the journey around customer use-cases and what motivates them, brands [can] transform experiences, creating unparalleled loyalty which, in turn, increases lifetime value of a customer, as well as creates an advocate [for the brand], which pays dividends in modern marketing.”

How are you working to design a better experience for your customers? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

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