Customer expectations have changed; by 2020 it’s predicted that Customer Experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator.

Consumers are on the hunt for ease, simplicity, and fast-paced results and assume there’s always a better way to access most products and services; an assumption that simply did not exist a decade ago. These days your customer automatically thinks someone else is doing what you do better and quicker. And they are probably right.

By identifying the truths behind behaviours, actions and motivations, you can create rapid and practical CX and UX plans, with the focus on delivering a positive impact quickly. Creating intuitive on and offline journeys and interfaces that are seamless, convenient and joyful should be your mantra.

I like to say there are three key parts of Customer Experience: ‘Simple, Human, and Useful’.

How can you make simple changes to your customers’ experience? Do you understand the human behind the purchase? Can you be more useful to your audience? Here are my top five thought starters for 2019.

1 – Address ease, convenience and speed first

These are your hygiene factors, the minimum a customer expects. Take simple steps. Maybe you could reduce the amount of questions you ask the customer on a form, or eliminate one stage in a process? No one enjoys, or has time, to fill out a complicated form and ideally, they would avoid a long phone call regurgitating the same information. Yes, you still need to take the time to find the relevant information to best serve your customers need, but could you draw some data from other sources and strip back a stage?


2 – Appreciate the time they have taken to choose you

Customers who are making high cost or high value purchase decisions will inevitably go through a detailed consideration process. That’s why it’s important to make every step of the experience effortless, while also making the most of the peak moments of the journey. When you purchase a car, the moment you receive it is arguably the best moment of that journey to date.

At BMW, they often reveal the chosen vehicle with a great amount of ceremony, creating a theatrical experience for the customer. Actions like this create memorable moments in the journey and encourage advocacy and loyalty, leaving the door open for simple lifecycle transactions like servicing. This is often where the commercial value of the purchase exists for the brand.


3 – Remember, not all transactions are supposed to be fun

Understand the emotional state of the customer along the way. Empathy, used appropriately, will put your customer at ease. Appreciate your role, at the various stages, and optimise your communication to respond to that. Buying insurance or applying for a mortgage can be daunting and create degrees of anxiety for a buyer.

These sectors are often associated with the unknown, people fear they will get it wrong and the consequences could be significant. By adopting the right language, presenting the right information and training your frontline teams to be prepared for customers’ emotional state, you can turn stress into confidence, something your customer will appreciate and remember.


4 – Being in touch with your buyer in a timely fashion can be the difference between good and great

Energy company Bulb use clear language and timely e-CRM in their switching process to help create a simple, useful customer on-boarding journey. They eliminate the need for the customer to question what is happening and pre-empt their concerns. They have challenged the standard expectation from the big providers – inefficiency and poor service. They have removed the need for the customer to have to take each next step themselves.

One extra email, timed just right, can save a flurry of phone calls, especially as 89 percent of customers are said to get frustrated because they need to repeat their issues to multiple representatives.


5 – Being relevant means really understanding context

Traditional personas might help us understand ways we might appeal to a person, given certain factors in their life, but they don’t help us understand what they are trying to do, and how we can help them do it better. Service Design methods can help organisations see their customers in a new way, less as a segment – more as a series of problems to solve at the right time – regardless of the other traits of the person. Look at the needs and not the types and you will see customers in a new light.

Note: This article is written by Eliot Sykes, Head of Customer Experience at Ethology, a sister company of Splash.