Organizations are under unprecedented pressure to deliver exceptional customer experience in an increasingly info-savvy world where customers expect nothing but excellence. Enhancing customer experience requires attention to details that customers observe and feel while interacting with your brand. Technologies are helping enhance customer experience in today’s digital world by delivering hyper-personalized and contextualized content across brand touchpoints consistently, learning from each interaction and predicting customer behaviour thereby. Customers are becoming less involved and appreciative of advertisements. They are trying to isolate themselves from overflow of such information available across digital channels. Hence, the inclination and market spend on advertising will soon lose its relevance. There would be an urgency to move to more personalized selling model by designing effective platform algorithms, leveraging predictive analytics, natural language processing (NLP), artificial intelligence (AI) to identify customer preferences and to provide seamless support/assistance. Exposure and effective response to existing customer base with respect to their choices and sentiments would play a key role in retaining them and ensuring repeat business. Organizations who have or are planning to have their business strategy aligned to customer experience are here to stay for long and grow with increased customer confidence and brand capital. We present five snapshots of the leading edge of customer experience, examples of companies embracing the future by living the transformation and not just reacting to it.
The challenge of consistency across channels
Robert Stark was confused: being in the market for a mortgage wasn’t easy, so he did what many do - he posted a question on Quora asking about the best plan available. Among the many replies was one from KBC bank on its offerings and a link to its website. To his delight, Robert found himself on a chat with a virtual assistant who understood his requirements. It provided him a comparative chart of KBC’s offerings versus competition, and Robert soon opted for a one-on-one discussion with an advisor. It wasn’t long before Robert took the decision to go with KBC bank. A few months into the relationship, Robert was worried about a possible late penalty charge as he didn’t receive a debit notification. He registered a complaint with the bank by chatting with the virtual assistant on the website and received a text update on the details of the reason for delay and expected date of resolution. Delighted with the experience, Robert tweeted about the episode, talking about a warm, connected experience with the bank. This is an excellent example of how a connected organization can help provide a seamless experience to its customers. When it offers a single face to the customer regardless of the channel, the chances of delighting the customer, even when they approach you with a problem is higher.
Leveraging customer data insights for personalization
Mary Williams was worried about her hypertension diagnosis. With her family history in mind, her GP at AMC hospital had asked her to monitor her blood pressure regularly. Just then, she received an email from Altius Group, a partner of the hospital. It was about a smart wearable device that would monitor her vitals, like BP and heart rate, and even trigger an alarm to emergency services in case of a crisis. Mary called for a demo and was surprised by how well the executive knew her medical history and tailored the offer based on her current medical needs. Mary’s is an example of how technology can prove to be useful in times of need. Having access to a unified view of customer data including history and transactions helps deliver a personalized offering that has a far higher chance of being favourably considered. In domains such as healthcare, where the relationship between a physician, hospital and customer are complex, insights from data can come to the rescue in enabling meaningful relationships between them.
The human side of IoT
David Lloyd’s experience with his air conditioner servicing firm had been dreadful, having spent hours waiting for the technician to show up. Having researched on this problem, he signed up with NexAC, a next generation appliance service. Things turned out differently with NexAC. This is David’s facebook post:
“I’m really impressed with NexAC, a never-before AC service experience. It completely slipped my mind that our AC needed service, so imagine my surprise when I received a call from NexAC saying that they had run remote diagnostics on my AC and they found only two problems. The first, they fixed with a remote patch update, and for the second, they needed to send a technician home. The service engineer knew we preferred service on the weekends, so he wanted to know if we were in town the next weekend. The technician showed up on Saturday, replaced the part and added the payment to my online shopping cart that I was reminded to clear later. It was as if my AC had its own thing going with the company and took care of the whole pain for me!”
The Internet of Things (IoT) is not new to the world of customer experience, but the attention is now on the human interface of IoT. As the technology matures, so will the quality of the human interface. David’s is a great example to demonstrate how technology along with human interactions will create a successful business model and complete the value chain.
Making robotics and automation work for customer experience
Donald Lawson threw his latest electric bill on the countertop in frustration. It was the same story month after month – despite being on the road for three weeks in a month, he still ended up paying almost as much as someone staying home all month. He picked up his smartphone and tweeted his rant out, “Can anyone recommend a fair utility company that won’t charge me for power that I don’t use? #XYZElectric #SoUnfair.” He received a response immediately from an executive who made a genuine attempt to understand his concern. Donald was offered a free upgrade to an IoT enabled smart metering solution that would monitor actual usage and rationalize his bills rather than the fixed fee he was paying now. There would be scripts running behind the scene to identify any potential problems and solve them remotely. It will also provide usage analytics and will advise accordingly on energy bill optimization. This example illustrates well on how automation of backend and customer facing processes can save time of customer and improve the overall customer experience by providing smart connected technologies.
Shopping made simple with augmented reality
The only thing that Nancy Jones finds harder to do than choosing furniture for her home makeover is getting her husband Bill to go shopping with her. To get Bill involved, she opened up the XYZ online website on her tablet, and surprised him with how enjoyable it really was to pick out furniture together. There were limitless options of colors and styles of the loveseat they were looking for. But how would it look in their living room? She took a picture of the room with the empty corner of where the loveseat was to go, and used an Augmented Reality (AR) app to visualize how it would look in its place. At a single click she could export this image to share with her girlfriends who were as excited about it as she was! The battle for differentiating in the world of online retail is providing better value in the purchase experience. With audio-visual boundaries being explored, there is a greater need for companies to integrate touch-feel characteristics in their shopping experience. This is where AR comes into play, allowing customers to visualize how their new purchase will look in their home or on themselves.
Delivering customer experience
Smarter organizations are embracing new ways of working that have human-centric approach to designing products and services around the needs of the customer. Speed to market while on the path of improving overall customer value proposition would be the key to success and will help move ahead of the competition. Organizations would need to look at process rationalization, domain contextualization, ease of operation/delivery, IT alignment to business strategy and omnichannel presence to make it a successful proposition.