Providing an excellent customer experience matters more than adopting the latest in technology, says Humanisation CEO, Cat Williams-Treloar.
The business world is trumpeting a new path to growth. And that new fuel is “customer experience”. With two new kids on the block, let’s hope that “customer experience” plays nicely with “digital transformation” in 2018.
“As competition and buyer empowerment compounds, customer experience itself is proving to be the only truly durable competitive advantage. A recent Gartner survey on the role of marketing in customer experience found that 89% of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience, versus 36% four years ago.” – Jake Sorofman, Gartner Analyst
What’s the driver of adopting CX?
Think about what has happened over the past few years. New technologies have transitioned customer experiences away from human interaction to cloud and mobile applications.
Want to book a flight?
Create new social posts?
Invoice & take payment?
All you have to do is use a mobile app or tap into the cloud.
If the ultimate technology goal is for the customer to self-serve, that gap will continue to grow. With the emergence of cloud-based SaaS products, companies can now offer digital customer service experiences like FAQ sections and onboarding. The accelerated use of chatbots and voice AI is another step in the self-help toolset that‘s more cost-effective than the old “answer-the-phone method.”
In my business today, I use over 15 SaaS products. I’ve stopped counting the apps I personally use (or have stopped using or started to delete). I’m a delighted customer when everything works. But it’s not always the case – and ticket desks have sadly become my best friend. What I’ve seen is that these digital tools and interfaces have the potential to shine or falter.
How do we start again with customers?
We have to recognise that the “customer experience” is important at every stage of the customer journey (and not just the visible stages!). Brands face the challenge of creating a meaningful interaction at each stage that caters to the needs and wants of consumers. In many cases, a technology-first strategy will miss the mark if it doesn’t begin with the customer.
Technology has its benefits, but it’s still early days when it comes to creating truly meaningful brand experiences with it. The biggest risk is the pressure for faster development cycles — where the human element is often neglected. Focusing on speeding up build cycles is not the solution. A human focus on the customer experience is the only way forward.
Finding your point of difference
Recently, I worked with a company that was struggling with its value proposition. Despite having gained market traction, there was still doubt about what made them different. Of course, they had the “competition” chart that showed how their product and technology was unique from their competitors. But it was clear that some of the current advantages were temporary and could be copied. So the question went back to this: What is our point of differentiation?
I asked them two questions to help them out:
1. What elements are unique and hard to copy?
2. Why do your customers buy from you?
When we were done, the walls were filled with post-it notes with fabulous ideas! We also discussed on what could be done to tell their story better.
At the end of the day, the team found that it was their ability to understand and solve their customer’s problems that mattered most. They did this through the experience they offered. Technology was the price of entry, but the experience was the retention driver.
Think about how you can adopt a similar approach for your company. What “value” can you add that’s not just about your tech? That will be the way forward.
Thank you for reading – do comment and share!
For more insights on Machine Learning, join Cat Williams-Treloar at ConnecTechAsia Summit 2018’s EmergingTech Track, where she will be a Panellist for the following Discussion: “Man vs Machine – Who is the Biased One?”. Marina Bay Sands, 27 June 2018. Delegates may register for the Summit here.