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A recent report by Gartner outlined that, by 2021, 81% of senior marketers expect to be competing mostly on the basis of customer experience. The importance of innovating the customer experience can not be underestimated. Here are some of the best insights from a loyalty consultancy point of view.
Whilst rapid innovation is critical to maintaining a competitive edge, the focus has been heavily placed on automated processes, data and marketing technologies to deliver exceptional customer experiences.
Customer loyalty is driven by emotional response
Companies certainly shouldn’t stop investing in new technology but, technology is not a complete solution. Customer loyalty is driven by human nature – which is less logical than technology! Humans make decisions based on their emotional response to an experience or brand. Therefore, so much can be accomplished by learning strategies from a loyalty consultancy.
In a 2017 report by Harvard Business School professor, Gerald Zaltman revealed that 95% of our purchase decision making takes place subconsciously (aka System 1 thinking which is non-logical and emotionally driven).
A recent report by contact centre specialist, Calabrio, confirms this with its findings that customer loyalty is generated when customers feel heard and have an emotional attachment to the brand—and that is best created through human connection where possible.
Most web usability studies also confirm that people are most interested in people as well!
Faced with many brand choices, customers expect the products that they buy to be good quality. The differentiator is often the emotional connection (which the brand creates) and the experience that the customer has with that brand.
Customer insight can help craft empathetic customer experiences
Brands who succeed will develop strong customer insight to build rich portraits of how customers think, feel and behave. Translating those insights into empathetic customer experiences that help customers get the job done better, faster, cheaper and more delightfully than the competition will win their loyalty. Calabrio’s study discovered that:
- 79% of customers believe that interacting with a human versus a chatbot or a digital self-service channel is a sign of good customer service.
- 76% think that technology helps create a good customer experience. However, they don’t really care unless they see the benefit.
- 48% of respondents think innovation is only important if it improves customer service.
Tuning into customers’ needs to win their loyalty – tips from a loyalty consultancy
- Audit the customer experience tech stack: In the race to innovate and operationalise elements of the customer experience and other routine functions, companies often acquire additional technologies. This can result in them operating on a patchwork of technologies which are not under-used and are poorly integrated. By performing a complete audit, organisations can better leverage existing technologies and can engineer a comprehensive tech stack which takes a customer-first approach, enabling them to hear what their customers are saying.
- Tap into the conversation: From phone conversations to email messages, every interaction with customers is important. By analysing these conversations, companies are able to understand the sentiment of their customers and surface subtle nuances in how they can improve the overall customer experience. Customer conversations are very simply the strongest source of customer insight that any organisation will have. With speech and text sentiment analysis connected into e-mails, text chat and voice calls, companies can turn unstructured voice data into actionable insights – and gain a full view of their customer’s emotional response to the customer experience across all channels.
- Focus on people: Customers matter and, the biggest factor that will impact their perception of the brand will be the treatment that they receive from customer service and customer facing staff. Keeping customer-facing staff morale high translates directly into customer loyalty and business performance.