During a recent webinar with customer experience strategist Don Peppers, and author and scholar Doc Searls, we discussed how technology and customer centricity are beginning to drive businesses toward these frictionless customer experiences.
Peppers discussed four elements of a frictionless customer experience:
- Reliability – A company does what is expected. Products work as advertised, there are no hidden flaws. There’s no hassle in buying or using the product. Data is protected, and few mistakes are made. Another term, Peppers says, is "product competence."
- Relevance – A company treats different customers differently, based on what's relevant for each individual or group of customers. It uses technologies such as analytics tools to remember when a customer comes back, switches channels, or other unique attributes. This is what Peppers calls "customer competence."
- Value – Customers feel that they are getting their money's worth from a company. There are no hidden costs or unanticipated fees.
- Trustability – A business proactively acts with good intentions and competence, in the best interests of customers. It openly admits when mistakes have been made, along with the steps being taken to correct them.
- Yet too often, friction slows business down. For customers, nothing stalls business more than needing to remember dozens of logins and passwords, or having to carry around “loyalty” cards and key-tags that are mostly an inconvenience. Companies put the burden on customers to create a good experience. But according to Searls, the tide is turning. Customers are getting restless, because they’d rather be fully empowered human beings.
The customer journey has two cycles: buy and own, Searls says. Most marketers tend to focus on the buy cycle. Yet all meaningful relationships exist on the "own" side. This is where customers are kept, and where loyalty becomes genuine, if customers are treated right. How companies treat customers will matter more than ever. The fully empowered customer will be freer to defect than ever. But also more free to go to join, if a brand provides frictionless experiences.
So what can sales and marketers do to prepare for this frictionless future? They need to understand the changing world around them. The world of sales and marketing has shifted to digital, and consumers expect an immediate response. We recommend sales and marketing leaders focus on three areas as they prepare for the frictionless future:
1. Connect marketing and sales in new ways.
Both marketers and sales leaders are able to learn more about their customers and prospects, and leverage insights created much earlier in the customer journey with digital marketing and sales operations. They must break down the silos between their organizations to integrate this data. Create an ecosystem that connects the digital marketing dots with sales operations data to enable quick decision-making. Involve agencies in this back and forth data flow, so all parties have the insight they need to interact with customers and prospects in the best possible way.
2. Leverage “in-the-moment” solutions
Engage with customers as quickly and relevantly as possible wherever they prefer. Advances in self-service tools can help with this. Mobile knowledgebases, social communities, and chat are just some examples of tools that can provide immediate interaction on customers' terms. The key is to be consultative and engaging, and not overtly sell.
3. Omnichannel is a must
Customers want to engage in the channel of their choice. Explore the customer experiences happening outside of your industry to find best practices that could be relevant for you. It's more than just technology implementations.
The demand for digital marketing expertise among sales and marketing leaders is one of the key reasons why WebMetro, a leading digital marketing agency acquired by Revana Growth Services in 2013, recently changed its name to Revana Digital. Revana Digital’s deep proficiency in digital marketing, analytics, technology acquisition, and results is uniquely tailored to help companies boost revenue growth and deliver seamless customer experiences from search to sale.
Interested in learning more? Access the entire webinar, "The Future of Frictionless CX: Using Technology to Deliver Humanity," on-demand at your leisure.
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