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Follow the yellow brick road to customer experience outcome

by By Imogen Lees, Content Editor at Partners Andrews Aldridge

Good CX saves money and makes money. A 2% increase in customer retention has the same effect as decreasing costs by 10%, while 86% of buyers will pay more for good customer experience.

That’s why we hosted a CX Event with the Global Sourcing Association on Excellence in Customer Experience. The event focused on how to measure and improve CX, introducing revolutionary new products such as CX Score and instigating a workshop which got the audience rating mobile web CX for major automotive brands.

The real revelations came in the panel discussion, which saw leading experts in the industry debate the new technologies driving improvements in customer experience. It covered everything from new channels for brands to interact with customers, to understanding customers’ omni-channel journey.

And through this, the overriding message for providing good CX was clear: don’t overcomplicate what customers want as an outcome.

Keep it simple, stupid
The scope of customer experience is changing with the increasing impact of AI.  Not only do customers expect more from their brand experience – whether that’s through innovative tech or tailored personalisation – customers are actually choosing products because of their AI.

But with brands keen to jump on the AI bandwagon there’s a danger of overloading the consumer with information. With so many opportunities to overcomplicate the customer journey – through different channels, targeting, tagging, and interaction points – brands need to focus on simplicity.

A shining light here is Aviva, whose simplistic layout and intelligent architecture make sure the user doesn’t get lost. Their ‘Shape My Future’ tool guides you to a personalised page which feels unique but doesn’t demand any superfluous information. It really doesn’t matter if brands do deliver slightly less if they’re doing so in a better way.

Put down the scattergun
Tired of being fed the same ads over and over again, even though you bought the product they’re selling you 3 months ago? That’s poor CX – and there’s no excuse for it. The solutions for clever retargeting are out there, and brands need to use them.

Highly specialised retargeting tools mean brands can easily avoid the ‘send to all’ approach. Instead they can map each individual to send them a personalised message, and use that first party data to feed back out into wider ecosystem.

It’s those brands who capture people at the right moment and keep them satisfied before delivering the content they need that will make the customer journey more seamless.

Tech for tech’s sake
Keeping CX simple means using AI in the right way to get a focused, personalised outcome. It also means using AI in the right places, to keep the customer journey as simple as possible.

Unnecessary AI actually has a negative impact on CX. One panellist spoke of an instance where chatbot features are only available once you’re through to your basket. At this point in the journey, your questions have probably already been answered, so it’s annoying and unhelpful that the chatbot wasn’t delivered at better point in their journey – say on the FAQs page.

Sounds obvious? It is. If brands are investing in innovative tech, they need to learn where and when to place it in order to get the best results.

Robots have feelings too
Using AI to fine tune your customer experience is risky in more ways than one. While customers are constantly searching for the quickest, most efficient brand interactions, they still crave the human factor. How often are we left frustrated by a non-responsive robot at the other end of the phone?

The human factor makes AI empathetic, intelligent, and nuanced – which is exactly what you’re looking for when you’re interacting with customer services, for example, and getting a reply to a complaint. The ‘humanity’ in AI also makes an experience memorable and special as it conveys a brand’s personality – essential for good CX. Netflix are doing it well, with their IBM Watson ‘Papal Artificial Intelligence’ trolling Twitter users with quotes from the Bible to promote the new season of Young Pope – and more brands need to follow suit.
Outcome beats output
You’d be forgiven for thinking that good CX demands a lot of contradictions: simple but intelligent, efficient but personal, multi-faceted but specialised. But it all makes sense when brands remember to put the customer outcome first.

Keeping the customer journey simple, tailoring personalised messages, using AI only where it’s wanted and making it feel human are all ways of putting the human experience front and centre. That doesn’t just mean their journey to purchase, it also means their experience with the product once they’ve bought it.

So how do brands show that the outcome is the most important factor in customer experience? It can sometimes take a bold move. Lloyds was one brand mentioned by the panel for their moving, stereotype-inverting campaign which puts the focus on the customer end point. We recognise that good banking has played a part in the outcomes they’ve achieved, but the focus is on the achievement itself: a same-sex marriage, a child’s first day at school, a first kiss.

Brands who recognise what consumers want at the end of their journey will find it easier to create an experience which will get their customers where they want to be.

By Imogen Lees, Content Editor at Partners Andrews Aldridge


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