How to create a good customer experience

OPINION / 5th July 2018

Speed, convenience, and consistency are the three components of a good customer experience according to PWC’s latest survey. Get these right and you’ll have customers who’ll buy more, be more loyal and will share their experiences [of your brand] with their friends.

It turns out that customers are willing to pay as much as 16% more for products from brands that provide a positive customer experience. But get it wrong, and you’ll pay the price. Findings from the same report showed 17% would walk away from your product or brand after just one bad experience and 59% will walk away after several bad experiences.

Customer experience stakes are high.

But what does it take to deliver a good customer experience in an always-on digital world?

You must put the customer first

Survey after survey has revealed that brands who have designed their products and services around their customers are being handsomely rewarded. The FT recently reported that American Express benefited from a 400% increase in customer retention after putting customer relations at the heart of its strategy.

Amex reportedly transformed its approach from treating customer service as a cost centre into an opportunity to build customer relationships. It began to deep-dive into truly understanding its customer needs. As a result, it was able to position itself as more than just a credit card company by offering more products that matched its customer’s lifecycle including travel perks and concert tickets.

Keep it human

Despite our advances in technology and prevalence of mobile use, customers still want to interact with humans. As many as 71% of Americans would rather interact with a human than a chatbot or some other automated process.

The hotel industry is leading the way in using technology combined with human interactions to enhance customer experiences. Marriott Hotels has piloted the use of geolocation tags combined with information gleaned from social listening to wow its guests in some of its top locations. It has been able to surprise guests with room upgrades, cocktails on the house and even complimentary meals on learning its visitors are marking a special occasion.

The Ritz-Carlton Hotels has adopted a similar tactic. Its employees have the freedom to use up to $2,000 to rescue a bad guest experience. This hotel group knows it only takes one bad experience to lose a customer for good. In fact, according to PwC’s survey, it found that 60% of all consumers said they’d stop doing business with a brand if the service they received did not match expectations.

Use technology to reduce friction

Smooth, consistent transitions from machine to humans is crucial. Consumers increasingly show loyalty to the retailers, brands and devices that consistently provide exceptional value and variety with minimum friction or stress. Using these tools to provide seamless payments and consistent experiences across platforms and in-person transactions is increasingly being expected by customers.

The airline group Lufthansa is leading the way in its efforts to reduce the friction in travel. In March this year, it piloted its one-step biometric boarding tech, utilising facial recognition at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). During the trial, it received very positive feedback from its customers as it was able to board approximately 350 passengers on to an A380 in about 20 minutes.

Lufthansa’s Bjoern Becker, Senior Director, Product Management Ground and Digital Services, recently said that the airline is continually striving to enhance the customer experience by applying advanced technologies and innovative solutions.

View from ORM

We all now have an opinion on what a good customer experience is, and it’s one of the biggest areas where you can differentiate your brand from others. Technology, such as AI or automation, combined with the human touch, can really enhance the customer experience. Many reports, including the one cited in this blog, indicate that customers are willing to pay more for products and services that have a superior experience. However, introducing technology on its own will not enhance the customer experience – it must be used to enable a customer-centric business strategy. We work with clients to identify their business goals, help understand their customers’ needs and the experience required, and then define what existing and new technologies are needed to help them flourish and succeed.