Can designing experiences lead to customer action?

Brands need to focus beyond transferring the ownership of their products to customers. A brand is a promise fulfilled. Brands and organisations need to focus on an enterprise level to truly deliver a meaningful and relevant customer experience. Over the last few years, the use of Data Science, Behavioural Science, MarTech, and AdTech have completely transformed the function of marketing and the skill set required to be a marketer of today are very different. Besides having deep skills in one of the above-mentioned practices, it is critical to have a collaborative mindset.

To develop a good customer experience, strategy, brands and organisations will need to clearly articulate the need for the desired change, a strong understanding of customer behaviour, a roadmap to implement the change, and a measurement mechanism to monitor outcomes.

To help demystify this, I would like to break the process down into simple steps –

1. Presenting CX as an Enterprise-Level Strategy – This is the most important step. CX is not the job of one department or team alone, it is a collaboration across teams and unless there is convergence and alignment of objectives and resources at an enterprise level, it is most likely to fail or meet limited success.

2. Use data science and behavioural science to humanise CX – Transaction data will throw light on usage but has no emotional dimension to it. How a customer ‘feels’ when he uses the brand is an important parameter that is often neglected now. Brands need to work on this and incorporate this as a critical input while enhancing their understanding of customer behaviour and trends.

3. Design experiences that lead to customer action – All interactions and interventions must lead to some customer action. Now this is a counter intuitive point because a brand is also a feeling. The point here is that brands need to craft their interactions to drive definite actions and in the process, can build empathy or a feel-good factor. This is important to do because it makes the Marketers think harder on what are the precisely levers that need to be pulled and the customer buttons to be pressed. If brands think hard enough, they can give experiences that customers didn’t know they wanted to truly delight them.

4. Same MarTech & AdTech tools but different outcomes – Most of the big brands are already using technology extensively, then why do our experiences across these brands vary so much? Using tools effectively is the biggest challenge brands are facing globally. And all of this interconnected with strategy, collaboration, customer behaviour understanding, data architecture, tool stack expertise and execution on ground. Technology today enables brands to meet customers where they are, when they want it. Brands must devise their strategies in this context.

5. Set targets, measure outcomes and solve customer problems – It is important to measure success of the initiatives, it motivates customer facing employees, drives a strategic mindset and most importantly demonstrates value to management.

6. Have digital and automation as the central medium but retain a high-touch strategy – This is currently a favourite topic with most brands, let us reduce people dependency, let the bots take over, reduce manpower to serve customers. I advocate that brands maintain a high touch approach as it is critical to demonstrate that the brand cares and means business. Talking to someone at the brand gives a reassurance that no amount of automation can. In my experience it is more than worth the investments the brands are making and goes a long way in building brand equity over a period of time.

7. Empower employees to drive outcomes – Brands need to empower employees with information, authority, and tools to serve customers. Reduce the chain of command and hasten the decision-making process. One of the biggest success criteria for great CX is speed and accuracy of resolution.

Neeraj Pratap Sangani
CEO, Hansa Cequity

Customer Experience as a theme is going to resonate for years to come and has already emerged as a key brand differentiator. It will require restructuring of the marketing teams and upskilling to help enable marketers to succeed in very uncertain and challenging times. A vision lead by a strategic plan will help brands build this practice successfully.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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