Three things customers love

16.6.2014 -

We’re seeing the development of increasingly smarter technology in the race to provide a winning customer experience. However, better technology isn’t the only solution.

About 89 percent of consumers will switch to a competitor because of a poor customer experience. Many similar research findings have been published in recent years. These results have been repeatedly drummed into the public consciousness through many different channels. So why then do we run up against the same challenges almost daily?

Our trampoline fell apart just before the start of the school summer vacation. The support bar had been worn into a curve and the welding seams had come apart.

I immediately went online in search of a new one. A paid Google advert for a giant version at a reasonable price caught my eye. The supplier was a well-known eCommerce merchant and a quality brand.

However, clicking on the link provided took me to a web page which informed me that the product was no longer in stock. Within minutes I had purchased the desired item from another online store.

My customer experience during the visit to the first eCommerce site was a disappointment, but not in itself particularly bad. At least it wasn’t the kind of experience that led me to immediately unleash my frustrations in social media. But in spite of that it made me – the customer – leave the site without doing business there.

Customer experience has become the competitive trump card of the digital environment. And no wonder, since the digital world offers a vast array of easily available similar products and services. As a result, we’re seeing the development of increasingly smarter technology in the race to provide a winning customer experience.

However, better technology isn’t the only solution. In many cases it’s possible to achieve significant improvements using relatively simple measures.

Here are three tips for creating a better digital customer experience:

1. Small things make a difference

When marketers create content they tend to focus on how best to say things in the most convincing way. It would be more worthwhile to consider how to describe things in a manner that is as easy as possible to understand.

Not long ago I left my favorite eCommerce site without buying the tablet computer I wanted because the product information said nothing about the color of the device. In another case, there was conflicting information on the eCommerce site for a ski center’s ski lift tickets: according to the first page existing smart cards would not have worked, while this information had been corrected on a subsequent page.

Seemingly minor details, but sufficiently important to drive potential customers elsewhere. Correcting these issues wouldn’t normally require any major technology project. Common sense, attention to detail, and sound language skills all go a long way in these kinds of cases. 

2. What kind of service would you want?

In many instances, service design is driven by background systems as well as their related features and limitations. An operating service has an interface and image that the customer encounters. This is the basis for the customer’s perception of our company and our service.

Recently, while searching for a rental car, I observed certain differences in available reservation systems. One of them asked me to first complete a long form on an airline’s website. Afterwards I was redirected to the rental company’s own site, which then asked me to fill in the same form again. Another service provided a list of available cars, but pricing information only became visible by clicking on each car option separately.

Would we accept this kind of service from a brick-and-mortar outlet? In the digital world we come across solutions of the kind described, simply because it was probably too expensive to develop something better. It’s reasonable to ask ourselves whether it’s worth spending even a single euro on systems that chase customers away.

3. What questions would you ask?

We always aim to satisfy customers’ needs with our products and services. It’s equally important to understand our customers when they are about to purchase the service in question. What kinds of specific questions do they have in mind? What factors could make them hesitate?

During my rental car hunt I visited a service that listed what several rental providers had to offer. I was delighted to see that the service also provided information on how to pick up the vehicle: whether it was at the airport terminal, just outside it, or even further away.

Finding similar information from other services proved to be both difficult and laborious. However, from the perspective of a vacation traveler such details are essential aspects of holiday comfort. Someone had clearly understood the kinds of questions travel planners have in mind when they reserve a rental car.

Why is it so difficult to step into the customer’s shoes? We are all customers at some point and consumers of digital services not only at work, but especially when we leave the office.

So what happens to us once we enter the office doors that makes obvious customer needs suddenly become no more than processes, integrations, and configurations – laborious, difficult, and expensive projects?

Too many companies expect their information systems to create miracles, although all we need is intelligent people to make clever decisions using the information they already have.

It’s also a question of developing extraordinary customer experiences. If you can remember these three simple things, you will immediately take giant steps forward – without breaking the bank.

Marko Filenius

Marko Filenius

I work as a business consultant. I am responsible for Enterprise Marketing Management and it is my task to help our customers to plan and control their multichannel marketing as a whole. Yet, all along maintaining the customer’s point of view. For the last fifteen years, I have gained experience as a CEO in media field, among electronic and mobile services. Now I can take a look at multichannel marketing from a new point of view and learn alongside with customers.

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