28 November 2016

CX: MIRACLE CURE OR JUST PLAIN COMMON SENSE?

CX, or Customer Experience, is a term that has been bandied around a lot lately. A good thing in itself, but that is just the problem. As time goes by, CX means something different to everyone and, before long, it no longer means anything…

Globally, we can agree that CX is the customer’s accumulated experience of a brand. Brand perception, in other words.

We can then split that experience up into separate sections ranging from communication regarding product development and design to shop experience, customer service and so forth. Digital brand perception is often categorised under User Experience (UX). The better all these aspects fit together, the clearer the brand perception.

Is this anything new? Not by a long chalk.
What do we promise and how do we live up to that promise? These questions form the basis of every good brand strategy.

What is new is the number of contact points between brand and customer and the opportunities they present. After all, we have developed from a unidirectional (brand communicates to customer) to a bidirectional (brand communicates with customer) to an omnidirectional model in which customers, objects and brands continuously intercommunicate.

CX2

This last model entails three important factors: real-time, context and predictability.

Increased connectivity means that just about everyone is able to communicate with or about your brand at any time. Not just during and after but also before any interaction. This has changed the balance of power between brand and customer and left some brands feeling threatened. They do not like the fact that customers can decide for themselves when and how they want to communicate with the brand, clearly stating their requirements.

This is where personas and their buyer journey enter the scene. Modern marketers have long since realised that this situation also offers fantastic chances. We can integrate all kinds of parameters, such as time and location, to personalise messages, for example. Once we have enough data, we can even predict what a customer will or will not do. Context and predictability…

What was it that made – and still makes – local businesses successful? Knowing exactly who their customers are and where their preferences lie. A good village hairdresser knows her customer’s home situation, interests and style. The bar owner can perfectly predict who is going to drink what and when. And everyone enjoys being recognised in their favourite restaurant and having the waiter make personal suggestions.

Thanks to marketing technology, such intimate knowledge of customers, their needs and their wishes is within the reach of every brand.
These days, the old supermarket slogan ‘the customer comes first’, could be given a whole new interpretation. Sometimes you might wonder what marketers are waiting for.

But CX is not a programme that you can just implement briefly, even though there are tools that can help you improve the CX.
Anyone who is really serious about Customer Centricity has to dare question their entire market strategy.

What do we promise and how do we intend to deliver? Nothing new and yet something completely different. I find that fascinating.

Peter Foubert

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