Recently, a new client of mine said, “Just like everyone else I want to differentiate my business through the customer experiences I provide, but quite frankly I’ve tried a lot of things and am not seeing any sustained improvement.”
Rather than being the voice of doom and saying don’t feel alone, research has shown that few businesses effectively transform their customer experience, I elected to tell an honest lullaby. As such, I said consistently delivering an extraordinary customer experience is challenging, however understanding what you need to do to differentiate your business isn’t that difficult – it comes down to four things.
The Four Ingredients of Customer Experience
What are the four ingredients required to create a savory customer experience excellence sauce? Well according to a recent global survey conducted by PwC (PriceWaterhouseCoopers), and in keeping with my own experience consulting on customer experience excellence, the ingredients you should stockpile in your business pantry are:
- Knowledgeable help
- Friendly service
If you are shopping around for other ingredients save your money and double down on investments in people, process, and technology.
These four ingredients will bring the highest value to the lives of your customers.
Notice I mention people, process, and technology as opposed to technology, technology, and technology. Technology can be an enabler of each of the ingredients but it, in and of itself, is not the ingredient or a strategy.
The PwC study suggests that technologies like AI can be used to personalize marketing messages, customize product presentation, and even tailor service delivery based on algorithms that study the behavior of your customers.
What it can’t do and what customers are craving is delivering personal care in addition to technology-driven personalization.
In the PwC study, respondents were asked their reaction to this thought proving statement: “I’ll want to interact with a real person more as technology improves.” 75% of respondents globally answered yes to this question with the top three highest endorsements coming from Germany (84%), the United States (82%), and Australia (81%). The three lowest endorsement rates came from Brazil (68%), China (66%), and Japan (53%).
As with other research, companies who deliver technology AND personal care are able to drive a premium price for their products.
In the PwC study, for example, that premium represents up to a 16% pricing advantage as well as increased customer loyalty. Customers are also willing to share more personal information with a brand if they believe the brand will use that information to enhance their experience of speed, convenience, knowledgeable help, and friendly service.
As mentioned to my new client, the challenge for leaders seeking to create customer experience transformation is to mix the four ingredients above (aided by decisions to deploy people, process, and technology) at the right consistency, optimized to the taste profile of your highest value customer segments.
The art of the mix comes in understanding customer preferences for each of these elements and inspiring team members to produce that mix operationally for every customer every time.
I am a mediocre cook, but I have a passion for blending these four ingredients together, because the payoffs transcend a business’ bottom line and represent a win/win/win.
Customers win because they have the experience they want, when and how they want it. Team members win because they are doing meaningful work that improves the lives of those they serve. The business wins by creating a differentiated experience that drives price advantages and loyalty.
We’d love to talk to you about what you are whipping up for your customers.
We promise to engage that conversation in a way that reflects speed, convenience, knowledgeable help, and friendly service. Simply reach out to us and we’ll talk soon!