Doesn’t it feel not very long ago that we were kicking our feet up, sipping eggnog and enjoying the holiday season?
It seems like only yesterday that we were in full “holiday season” mode; a season during which people spent the most they ever have online - $126B to be exact, according to Adobe Digital Insights.
But now, our feet are firmly planted into 2019. We’ve all had the chance to catch up on the flurry of emails, had our 2019 kick-off meetings and started to get our hands deep into the projects that await us the rest of the year.
Talks of 'super blood wolf moon eclipses' and 'polar vortexes' no doubt flooded our news streams as much as they did yours this past month, but here are some of the articles, stats and tips in the world of Customer Experience Management (CEM) that have also recently caught our eye.
- Brands are still figuring out the right in-store mobile experience
- Slow and steady doesn’t always win the race to conversions
- Place more day-to-day focus on project-level CX Metrics
- Assurance of data security is essential to customer loyalty
- iperceptions blog post: Top 5 Customer Experience Trends To Look For in 2019
Who hasn’t taken out their mobile phone at some point while in store to get more information on a product, compare prices to the store next door, and check out product reviews?
I’m guilty of doing this all the time, and I’ll venture a guess and say most of you reading this are guilty of it too. Just looking at millennials, for example, almost half ‘research digitally, but buy in-store’, as found in a study by Roth Capital Partners and reported by eMarketer.
Nowadays, many brands are seeking ways to take the in-store mobile experience one step further, whether it’s through the use of augmented reality (AR) or cashier-less stores (think ‘Amazon Go’). However, Mobile Marketer recently dove into the possible catch-22 that brands can face when exploring these avenues too deeply. Namely, the potential of losing the ‘human touch’ that comes from consumers interacting with other people, which many US consumers still see as an essential factor in their final purchase decision.
In the article for Mobile Marketer, Deb Gabor, CEO of Sol Marketing, warns that:
“brands could risk delivering impersonal experiences that feel more like shopping in a giant vending machine.”
Although this article focuses more on the Retail shopping experience, you could extrapolate these sentiments to other industries in many ways. We’re living in exciting times where technology has allowed brands to find new, creative and revolutionary ways to change the shopping experience as we know it.
However, in all of their efforts to enhance the in-store experience, it’s vital for all brands to always tie everything back to the overall customer experience, and always make sure their efforts always have the customers' needs in mind. Measuring the experience at each critical stage of the customer journey, whether it’s happening online (website, mobile app) or offline (in-store), is a critical ingredient in the success of these efforts.
Marketingland recently reported on findings from an Unbounce study that uncovered that despite the majority of respondents saying that slow-loading sites negatively affect their willingness to buy or return to a particular site, “ensuring faster website loading times” sat at the bottom of marketers’ to-do list in 2019.
This disparity between customer expectations of fast loading websites and marketers’ priorities highlights an interesting gap in the website experience that keeps the door wide open for slipping conversion rates.
Plus, when it comes to the customer experience, speed is not mutually exclusive from 'simplicity'. After all, people are always on the lookout for the easiest and quickest way to do what they want, and anything that stands in the way of those objectives could negatively affect how they perceive their ‘overall experience’ with a brand.
As reported by MyCustomer, a study by Siegel+Gale found that 64 percent of consumers are more likely to recommend a brand to someone because it offers a ‘simple’ experience, while 55 percent are willing to pay more in return for simpler experiences.
What customers expect from their experiences will never be the same from industry to industry, from brand to brand, or from one of the customer journey to another. It is critical for marketers to continually monitor what customers need and expect and adjust their priorities accordingly to ensure they offer the best experience possible and, in turn, positively impact their conversion rates.
The importance of measuring CX metrics over time at both a high-level and granular level has been well reported (for example, see our CX Metrics Series). But where CX professionals often face a challenge is when answering the following question:
“What’s the best way to monitor and keep track of all of these CX metrics, and then communicate them to right stakeholders in a way so that they have the most impact?”
According to Forrester, it comes down to how you categorize and prioritize these metrics. Forrester suggests first splitting all your CX metrics into three categories:
- Beacon metrics: Measure CX and customer loyalty at the company level (high-level)
- Driver metrics: Measure CX attributes and operational indicators that can predict the performance of beacon metrics.
- Project metrics: Measures the success of temporary CX improvement initiatives.
After categorizing your metrics into these buckets, you should place 70 percent of your focus on ‘Project Metrics’ – the metrics that measure the more granular aspects of specific CX initiatives. The other 30 percent of your attention should then be placed on ‘Beacon’ and ‘Driver’ metrics, which are more high-level and, typically, are impacted by the performance of the more project-level metrics.
This article also examines the need to inject your key CX metrics in dashboards so that relevant metrics are always available to the right stakeholders at the right time. Overall, this article provides some interesting pointers for CX professionals wanting to make sure their CEM efforts have the most impact within their organization and, ultimately, for their customers.
When you’re thinking of doing business with a brand, the last thing you want to worry about is whether your information is collected and handled securely. From a brand’s perspective, fears of a potential breach can have potentially irreparable damage to your reputation and, ultimately, your bottom line.
In an article for Multichannel Merchant, Ann Kennedy, General Manager of Global Data at Bazaarvoice, delves deeper into the need for brands to adhere and adjust to growing customer concerns about the handling of their personal information as a way to develop customer trust and, in turn, generate advocacy. Kennedy summarizes:
“By doubling down on protection, transparency and health of customer data, brands and retailers can more effectively build long-term relationships and create advocates for life.”
In the age of GDPR and increased customer concerns regarding what information is collected about them and when, brands need to adapt their approaches in how they get to know their customers, their needs and expectations, as well as their experiences across the customer journey. Due to its permission-based and consent-driven nature, voice of the customer (VoC) feedback presents an opportunity for marketers to easily and securely collect these insights.
As brands continue to recognize the growing importance of the Customer Experience as a means of competitive differentiation, CX professionals must continue to monitor the latest trends to determine how they can best provide positive experiences across the customer journey.
From closing the feedback loop and consolidating customer data sources, all the way to better understanding customers’ omni-channel behaviors and their concerns relating to the security of their personal information, 2019 brings forth many key trends every CX professional should consider when designing key experiences.
For our blog post of the month, Lane Cochrane, Chief Innovation Officer at iperceptions, looks at 5 top Customer Experience Trends you should be keeping an eye throughout the year, and which may impact how companies approach CX in 2019.
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