Improving customer experience is the top priority for CMOs according to both Gartner and Forrester. For good reason. There’s now a plethora of CX research
that backs up what we all know intuitively - creating a better customer experience leads to greater loyalty and wallet share with customers.
Customer experience (CX) refers to the sum of every interaction a customer has with a business, including pre- and post-sale.
The customer experience strategy
defines the actionable plans in place to deliver a positive, meaningful experience across those interactions. In my observations, there are three distinct, but not mutually exclusive, CX strategies companies can deploy:
- Designed Moments
- Empowered Talent
The #1 ranked hotel in Los Angeles according to Yelp
is not the Beverly Wilshire or Chateau Marmont. It’s The Magic Castle Hotel
, an otherwise non-descript former apartment building from the 50s with average looking rooms and amenities. However, by the pool is a red phone that has a sign above it that says, “Popsicle Hotline
.” When guests pick up the phone, somebody answers and says, “Popsicle Hotline! We’ll be right out.” Soon a person dressed like an English butler wearing white gloves comes carrying a silver tray with popsicles. That moment, and others designed by Magic Castle, is what people remember and keeps them coming back.
Nobody does a better job of Designed Moments than Apple
. From the moment you walk into an Apple Store, to opening the thoughtfully packaged product, to setting up your new iPhone (a potentially frustrating process made seamless), Apple considers every aspect and obsesses to make those interactions joyous.
Designed Moments is a creative driven approach
to improving the customer experience. It produces repeatable awesome customer experiences. There’s nothing customized or personalized in this strategy. Clearly from the above examples, there’s nothing wrong with that. The strategy entails recruiting highly creative people who come up with these experiences, and then all customers engage in a similar awesome experience. The iPhone X I purchased is the same iPhone X that anyone else could buy, and anyone who stays at Magic Castle can pick up the Popsicle Hotline.
Back in the 70s, a guy walks into Nordstrom with a set of snow tires he wants to return
. Nordstrom has never sold snow tires. Nevertheless, the Nordstrom’s employee calls around to determine the value of the snow tires and issues a full refund. What a great piece of corporate lore that helped make this retail giant synonymous with a great customer experience.
The Nordstrom Employee Handbook given to all staff when they first join the company goes something like:
"Welcome to Nordstrom
We're glad to have you with our Company. Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service.
Nordstrom Rules: Rule #1: Use best judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules."
Empowered Talent is a culture driven approach
to improving the customer experience. The idea is that we can’t possibly anticipate every customer situation or train employees what to do in every unique situation, so we create a culture that empowers people to display their empathy and best judgement. The result is brand loyalty, repeat sales and lower marketing costs. You'll also build a workplace which attracts talented people who will stand behind your brand.
When you go into Netflix, not only are you getting movie recommendations tailored to you based on your viewing habits, Netflix is now going even further to personalize the thumbnail of the movie it is recommending. You and I might both get recommended “The Godfather.” The image I see may be of a stern looking Marlon Brando, and your image may be of a beautiful Italian wedding. Netflix knows that attracting new customers and keeping the ones they have requires influencing their viewers to consume content they’ll appreciate.
Hyper-Personalization is a data driven approach
to improving the customer experience. The idea is that we can now anticipate and proactively respond to unique customer opportunities and pain points. We are in an era where we have unprecedented levels of data, mature machine learning techniques that turn data into customer insights, and modern architectures that allow us to infuse these insights into customer facing screens.
While this approach started with west coast digital natives like Amazon, Google, Facebook and the aforementioned Netflix, other industries such as telecommunications, banking, insurance, healthcare, retail, media & entertainment are on the cusp of transforming the customer experience with this strategy of hyper-personalization. They are all well positioned because they have millions of customers, diverse offerings, changing regulatory environment, traditional plus non-traditional sales channels, and a rich set of customer profile data.
Check out Vantage CX
to learn more about the capabilities required to execute a strategy based on Hyper-Personalization.