How to Keep Your Digitally Connected Customer Happy
by Mark Withington, on Mar 30, 2021 2:17:09 PM
Read Time: 5 minutes
In the wake of COVID-19, remote everything (e.g., work, play, study, live, etc.) has become the norm.
I ride my bike down the virtual streets of New York, Paris, and London on an indoor smart trainer courtesy of Zwift. I buy just about everything from my living room chair right down to toothpaste and toilet paper, courtesy of Amazon. I socialize via Zoom, Teams, and the like (about as much as a curmudgeon would). I even schedule my doctor’s appointments online using Zocdoc. Suffice to say, my life has become a never-ending stream of 1’s and 0’s showering the globe (see Figure 1)… and I bet your life has too.
Figure 1: Mark's Digitally Connected Life
The Connected Customer: Digital Transformation for the Customer Experience
In light of my digital jet setting lifestyle in the wake of COVID-19, it is no surprise that Customer Experience (CX) has become a major part of my day-to-day life as a connected customer. But what does it mean to be a connected customer? Well, we all participate in interactive online journeys every day. Whether we interact with a chatbot and are routed to customer service or find ourselves with a full digital cart ready to checkout, we are walking down a path that has been designed by someone facilitating your customer experience. I always say:
Whether or not the customer experience is proactively designed and tested or not, the customer will still have a customer experience.
Check out our latest e-book “How to Design an Elevated Customer Experience” to learn about the tools and strategies you can use to purposefully design your CX.
These experiences span across a spectrum. They are sometimes frustrating (Siri and I have a very complicated relationship), sometimes incredibly frustrating (don’t even get me started on scheduling a “COVID vaccination appointment”) and sometimes, just maybe, very pleasant:
I recently bought an Apple Watch online for my daughter’s birthday. I measured her for it with some basic online tools, paid for it with Apple’s 0% interest card and had it shipped to her in New Hampshire from Chongqing, China without a hitch. The whole end-to-end interaction flowed smoothly, my questions were anticipated and answered, preferable options were presented and selected, and my payment was done via face recognition without ever taking my hands off the keyboard.
The entire experience might have taken a total of five minutes. And here’s the kicker, because she’s rarely ever home, I even changed the delivery point while it was en route via the UPS website (see Figure 2). That’s right, a pleasant customer experience across different suppliers!
The big difference between the customer vs. user experience and between the frustrating, the very frustrating and the much rarer pleasing digital experience is without a doubt a well-defined and tested customer journey. One that anticipates my thoughts and feelings at each and every touchpoint. An intentional path not only giving me a happy customer experience but one that keeps me on the straight and narrow. At Accelare, we call the effort to design such pleasant journeys Purpose Driven Customer Experience (PDCX).
What is the Difference Between User Experience and Customer Experience?
The difference between customer experience versus user experience is purpose. Customer experience is designed to guide a prospective customer through a series of well-choreographed touch points toward a fixed and mutually beneficial outcome for both the customer and the business. This purposefully mapped out CX delivers a seamless end-to-end customer journey.
When the customers’ needs, goals, and characteristics are an afterthought to the design, the customer experience can quickly turn into an ambiguous ‘one size fits all’ user experience. This can end up becoming a disjointed random walk in the digital ether with no destination in sight. The journey can span across the company’s disconnected and siloed organization chart where the customer is confused where to go next.
User Experience (UX) is too often built with lofty goals and buzzwords like delivering a ‘delightful experience’ or improving Net Promotor Scores as outcomes with no way to truly achieve it. In a happy customer experience, these are just benefits of the ripple effect when you focus on what really matters to improve the customer experience. CX design is kind of like dating, while a nice dining experience is important, it alone does not make for a successful outcome.
How Do You Improve the Customer Experience?
If you’ve taken anything away from this by now, it should be purposefully design and you’re your customer experience! And here is how… Frame the customer journey into a four-step map using ‘AIDA’ (see Figure 3): Awareness, Interest, Desire, and Action.
This breakdown is intended to “organize the context in which [the customer] make decisions” (Thaler, R. H., & Sunstein, C., Nudge, 2008) by addressing their beliefs, feelings, and behaviors at each step throughout that journey to be able to proactively address an issue or pleasantly surprise them with a happy customer experience.
So how do we go about identifying a connected customer’s beliefs, feelings, and behaviors to improve the customer experience? The first order of business is to conduct extended market segmentation with both quantitative attributes (e.g., demographics, geographics, and behavior) and qualitative techniques such as psychographics (see Figure 4).
What is Psychographics Segmentation?
Psychographics segmentation illuminates the customer’s motivation behind their actions. It is a technique used to peek into the parts of the brain that determine a customer’s beliefs, feelings, and behaviors (the amygdala, basal ganglia, and lateral temporal cortex for the neuroscience majors in the audience). Psychographics ensure the customer experience will provide just enough information to influence the customer’s cognitive biases without overloading them with information and clouding the message.
Once developed, the extended market segmentation model is fleshed out into a portfolio of personas, or customer archetypes, that describe your digitally connected customer in casual, relatable language, documented in a series of vignettes.
This should be your guiding light when you or your team design customer touchpoint messaging, so their beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are top of mind when further developing your customer journey map using Figure 3.
If you would like to see how your organization stacks up in delivering the customer experience, click here to assess your CX maturity and readiness. Our team will create and send a custom report straight to your inbox with techniques and recommendations for your digital transformation roadmap to implement to improve your customer experience from end-to-end.