Natalie Keightley, senior director of solutions marketing at Avaya, examines how brands can deliver the feel-good customer experiences that matter.
Today’s customers present us with a paradox – they want everything, but not all at the same time. Sometimes they want to serve themselves but at other times they want to interact with a human. At times they want to use WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Alexa to get in touch, but they also want to be able to resort to a traditional phone call when they feel the need.
Customers want to be connected, but also to be left alone; to be served equally to everyone else, but also to be treated as a unique individual. They want a consistent and expected service but also to be pleasantly surprised. And they want fully featured options but at the same time want everything to be effortless. In short, they want a lot and what they want is constantly changing and moving.
Today’s paradoxical consumer has been named by Gartner the ‘Everything Customer’ and serving them can be a challenge. So how do you keep the Everything Customer happy?
A good place to start is to look at the characteristics of the customer experience for the Everything Customer and then define what goes into making the best possible experience for them.
Firstly, it needs to be effortless, which means natural and intuitive as well as fast, easy and proactive. In other words, every interaction with an organisation should just happen effortlessly! Secondly, it should be personalised – at least in the mind of the person receiving it – so that it’s targeted to them and customised for them. Thirdly, it should be intelligent, which means it should be well informed and relevant, based on the context of everything that surrounds it, but particularly in the exact moment that matters to the customer. And finally, it should be consistent, expected and the same across any touchpoint. In addition to all this, and most importantly, it must be as easy to reverse the interaction as it was to do in the first place – for example to make a return or get a refund.
Crucially, the customer experience needs to be memorable to differentiate it from every other experience out there – and inevitably as humans, we remember how experiences make us feel. Irritating and frustrating is an experience that will stick in customers’ memories. Much, much better is to be memorable for delivering a satisfying and pleasurable experience.
It might not guarantee the enduring loyalty of the Everything Customer – for them loyalty has a shelf-life of zero – but an organisation’s brand is the sum total of all the experiences it delivers, which means that feel-good experiences are experiences that matter.