Customer experience is about bridging critical gaps between digital elements and the real world.
From Design to Reality
“The gap between the real world and IT Solutions is huge and the one who is able to bridge this gap to match business critical user needs wins the game,” says Solteq’s Client Executive Bengt Holmberg. He identified three critical gaps that companies must close in order to deliver a seamless customer experience:
- The gap between real life experiences and the technology that attempts to make these experiences effortless and enjoyable.
- The gap between backstage services – which are the backbone of any customer path – and customer expectations.
- The gap between business needs and the customer’s willingness to depart from his time or money.
For Holmberg, just mapping out and understanding the nature of these gaps on paper aren’t enough. A true customer experience design must be able to translate, adapt, and fine-tune technology, processes and productization into the world of the customer. To be able to bridge these gaps, there should be an understanding of both sides of the “gap” or the “seam,” and an adaptation of one side of the gap or both.
The goal, he said, is to capture the emotion elicited from the customer. “Very often, the experience becomes fragmented because one channel, for example the online shop, fails to deliver the same experience face-to-face.”
With Customers, You Can’t Ever Have a Bad Day
“To excel, you need to consistently elicit positive emotional responses“says Holmberg. The significant values today are humility and authenticity, as power has shifted from companies to customers. This means that companies must now really pay attention and care for the customers. “Success is measured by a very subjective, ‘how the experience made me feel-factor,’ and the margin for error is smaller than ever.”
There’s also an increasing need for speed and availability. Tactical teams must work almost 24/7 to monitor and analyze data, and test out new and innovative ways to improve outcomes in terms of (at)traction, cash flow and loyalty. Simultaneously, Voice of the Customer should also be collected directly from the scene of action. To be excellent, “One finger must be on the pulse of Customer Experience KPIs and one hand on the steering wheel”.
Technology for Technology’s Sake is a No-No
As digital channels are intricately woven into the fabric of everyday life, it’s the organizations’ job to ensure that they are a seamless part of the total experience. In conclusion, Holmberg says of technology’s role in customer experience, “If you know what kind of change you wish to see in the real world, digital capabilities can be great enablers, but never employ technology just for technology’s sake.“
Creating a “Why?” Culture
Customer experience is “90% solving the right problem and 10% of delivering the unexpected” says Holmberg. To be able to identify the right problems organisations need to have collective mindset that always asks the question “why?” before any actions. For organisations to work like well oiled machines they need free flow of communication throughout the company and everyone working truly together. There is no room for sticks in the mud.
Organisation can’t afford to focus on how things have previously been done, but embrace the change. A customer-centric project is about learning and iteration. Surprises and product pivots are natural occurrences. No part of the organization should fall in love or get too attached to previous solutions, no matter how successful they were at a specific point in time. This is how organisation can deliver the unexpected.
This blog was originally published on Management Events’ Insights and Reports for Technology Driven Visionary Leaders.