Managing customer experience in the digital age

Parneet Kaur
14 March 2017

We interact with many brands on a daily basis but do we remember each and every experience? Well no, we either remember an exceptional experience or a bad experience that we have had with a brand. What does this indicate? The answer is simple; there is no scope for average!

Let me elaborate with a help of a personal example, I was a loyalist to an airline brand and in one of my many travels; they once misplaced my bags, which I agree can happen sometimes. I was given a complaint id and was asked to follow up on the customer service number. Each time, a different executive answered the phone and I was asked to re-explain the case but yet had no information. After complaining on social media channels and after multiple follow up calls my bags were traced. No explanations were given and I received half empty bags. Did I use this airline ever again?

The answer is no and I don’t intend to either. I narrated this incident to about a 100 people and wrote this blog post even after 2 years. This indicates that a bad experience can leave a long lasting impression on a consumer’s mind also affecting the repurchase intention and eventually loyalty.

What can customer experience do for your brand?

Experiences can help brands narrate a story, voice their values and culture, add character thus humanising the brand. It gives the brand an authority over others and is a driver of conversation and engagement. Today’s customers connect and interact across multiple channels at a given time and anticipate a seamless anytime experience. They expect compelling content that not only captures attention but also makes them want to share it amongst their network. More than anything, they want to be heard and want a personalised and customised engagement with the brand.

What brands do wrong?

The customer journeys have become cyclical instead of linear and there is now a constant interaction of the consumer with the brand where its offerings are constantly being evaluated. Therefore, brands must design for each touch point and each touch point must talk to one another.

Most companies understand the customer journey but don’t provide the same level of customer service at every touch point. A lot of them don’t engage their entire organisation in the process and manage customer service in silos, which leads to inconsistent delivery. Some of them have it integrated across channels but are channel focused and not customer focused and others don’t have seamless integration.

Brands are often creating disjointed customer experiences.Different individuals are assigned to handle the various channels where there is little or no interaction among them regarding their communication with the various stakeholders. However, with today’s savvy consumer, brands need to manage customer service centrally by creating a repository from where all the tasks are distributed to the various heads responsible. This allows brands to monitor and evaluate the issues addressed and the communication taking place with its various stakeholder. Various tools such as MEngage allow collection and tagging features that allow task management and multi-channel integration to ensure a seamless customer experience process.

Six hallmarks from companies that excel in customer experience:

  1. Define a clear, compelling value proposition delivered through customer journeys
  2. Know the journeys that matter, and why they matter
  3. Continuously innovate the end-to-end journey experiences.
  4. Use journeys to reinforce front-line culture
  5. Optimise operational processes and systems to ensure consistent delivery
  6. Use journeys to define metrics and working mechanism.

Remember across channels, across the company, across customer service teams and across advertising- brands must maintain the messaging, experience and reputation to manage the expectations of a digitally savvy and modern consumer.

Content adapted from a webinar conducted for Meltwater by Malhar Barai. Check out the webinar here.