Earlier this year, HGS released a white paper on this year’s 10 customer experience disrupters—those that are sure to alter the CX landscape this year. Every month, we’ve dedicated a blog to each of these CX game changers. Here we dissect Disrupter No. 9: Connecting on an Emotional Level, with thought leadership from HGS VP of Solutions and Capabilities, Lauren Kindzierski, highlighting how companies can provide digital CX that also connects.
In today’s reputation economy, getting the digital customer experience right is essential to your survival. Brands need to remember that experiences are not logical, they are emotional. Finding new ways to create an emotional connection with customers throughout each stage of the digital journey is absolutely critical. However, this is no easy task considering the challenges of the online and mobile environment.
When optimizing your digital customer experience, remember these six tips for connecting with customers, to: know me, engage me, make my life simple, anticipate my needs, feel what I feel, and reward me.
- “Know Me”
In today’s digital age, customers expect the companies they do business with to truly know them. Brands need to track all interactions a customer has with a brand. Companies need to store customer understanding and track information that answers key questions, like, what emails did the customer open? What videos did they watch? What questions did they ask via social media? What purchases have they made? By tracking all engagements and preferences, a company can build predictive models and predict behaviors, such as likeliness to churn, likeliness to purchase, likeliness to refer, or likeliness to renew. This will enable customer service teams to become more proactive in nature, recommending the offers that are most likely to resonate and be accepted by the customer. The end result is increased orders, larger average order size, and improvement in customer satisfaction.
- “Engage Me”
In the digital environment, it’s important to engage your multi-tasking, multi-device-using online visitors and keep their attention. One strategy is to create interactive apps or simulations of the experience customers could get if they were to visit the brick and mortar store. For example, if the brand is a paint company, let customers get the same experience of painting the walls of their desired rooms with chosen paint colors using an interactive app. Additionally, the customer can contact a consultant to get a third-party opinion or ask a question.
- “Make My Life Simple”
Most consumers have experienced customer service calls with multiple transfers, and each new agent requesting the same basic information. Companies need to make sure the customer experience is integrated and not disjointed. In essence, a business needs to provide one unified customer experience that spans multiple mobile devices and screens. The experience needs to let customers pause any activity, and be able to resume it at another time, from a different device. This experience should be personalized and tailored to the customer’s preferences, habits, and behaviors, regardless of channel or platform used to engage with the brand.
- “Anticipate My Needs”
Historically, customer service has always been viewed as being very reactive to customer needs. For example, if customers have a problem, they have to call customer service. Rarely is it the other way around where customer service proactively reaches out to the customer. Micah Solomon, the author of High-tech, High Touch Customer Service, describes the concept of “anticipatory customer service,” by which companies predict customer needs and proactively address them. Anticipating a customer’s needs gives companies an opportunity to provide a WOW experience, or fix a problem before it amplifies. Here are a few examples where companies could leverage proactive text message alerts for customers: credit card expiration, fraud alerts, order status updates, bill charges that have spikes out of the norm, or subscriptions due to expire. In all of these cases, a customer call can be prevented with a proactive alert and by giving the customer an option to fix the issue via text—before it amplifies.
- “Feel What I Feel”
Maya Angelou stated it best when she said, “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Empathy is a critical component of delivering an amazing experience that customers will remember. As you analyze the customer journey, and focus on the emotional drivers behind each stage, try putting yourself in your customer’s shoes. For example, what does it feel like to be a customer who has visual impairments, attempting to use a chat tool? Can you read the black text on a white background? Chances are, probably not. Demonstrate empathy and customer service excellence by providing those customers the ability to click a button that will change the background to black with white text.
- “Reward Me”
After every engagement, a brand should send a one-question survey to customers to gauge their experience with the service. If a customer replies back with a one-star rating, the brand should have an alert that immediately serves up an outbound call to save the customer relationship. If the customer replies back with a five-star rating, the brand should thank the customer for their loyalty and invite them to join the exclusive social referral program, which rewards them for referring the brand on social networks with extra points or promotions.
When designing your brand’s unified customer experience strategy, remember these 6 tips for connecting with customers to drive deeper engagement. Take heart in the fact that, even in the digital age, emotional connections are still critical to the future of good customer service.