Understanding the customer experience: it’s all about me

  • Posted on February 8, 2016
The following blog post was written by Avanade alum Annette Rust.

Customer ExperienceI am, in many ways, a pretty average consumer. I have two smartphones (one private, one for business) in my pocket, tablet and laptop at home and at work, and I’m active on social networks. I’m online every day, which means I’m bombarded by as many as 3,000 brand messages per day across both online and offline channels. Most of them, I don’t even notice. The ones I do notice can be either intrusive and disruptive, or helpful and even engaging, depending on the context.

I’m aware that companies are vying to earn me as a customer, and their efforts to reach me are what’s driving the “noise” I encounter every day. There are a few things, however, I wish these companies knew about me. Understanding my perspective would go a long way in helping them win my loyalty, and would make the messages that I encounter every day a lot more meaningful and relevant to my needs.

To start, I have a lot of choices. Innumerable choices. If I have a negative customer experience with one brand, there are countless others waiting to court me.  Also, I no longer make purchasing decisions based solely on price. Of course, price is still a factor I consider, but I have so many more touchpoints with brands today than I did before digital technology became widespread, that I really need the experience of interacting with a brand to be one that I look forward to. And the experiences that I look forward to the most are the ones that are relevant to me personally – this is where the digital customer journey starts and ends. I appreciate when companies recognize me as an individual and take a consistent and safe approach toward me as a person. In this case, I am willing to even give more information or personal data – because I do get and understand the benefit.

Here’s an example: I had a breakdown with my car last summer that left me stranded on the motorway – a stressful situation. However, it took only one call to my roadside service provider of this car company, and the service chain started. No additional calls were required; they came to where I was stranded and brought another car (by the way exactly the same that I own).  It was followed up with continuous and pro-active updates about my car from the garage, even asking me where I would like it delivered once it was fixed and where to pick up the other. It was a seamless customer experience from start to finish, and I felt very taken care of. Next Surprise: I just changed the car (same brand) and the first thing they did was offer a cool, new on-call app for my new “rolling hotspot” with great UX and features and several cool music playlists on Spotify – which exactly met my music taste and channel. A fluke? Not likely! Did I feel concerned about their knowledge about me? Not at all. And this smart app improves my profile and recommendations about my most often used routes and hotels I like from day to day. They added a very smart digital bypass to me as a connected driver and to my connected car – and I do love the touchpoints with this brand.

The big credo in marketing has always been “know your customer,” and it has never been easier to listen to the customer, collect data and information and deliver personalized and relevant content to them. At the end of the day, though, we are all human beings that love stories, interaction and conversations. So companies that can apply the right digital tools to create these types of meaningful customer experiences on my channels, without taking every touchpoint as a selling opportunity, are the ones that will earn my loyalty.

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