According to analysts, Gartner, 89% of companies expect to compete mostly on the basis of customer experience by 2016, compared with only 36% five years ago.
This incredible jump indicates just how exponentially the importance of customer experience has grown and highlights how making customer experience count is absolutely critical to all businesses cross any vertical market.
The reason for this is quite simple, brands no longer have a choice. In this current, highly connected world, nearly every organisation is working toward establishing a meaningful customer experience across all channels, and with mobile and social now so intrinsically ingrained in consumers’ daily routines, the expectation for complete and uninterrupted satisfaction has never been greater.
Customer experience can make or break a brand, with consumers now elevated to a position where they are empowered to either evangelise or antagonise a brand via the proliferation of Social Media avenues available to them. A bad experience can spread like wildfire through social creating a number of negative hurdles for marketers to overcome. In fact, in order to drive customer satisfaction and impact business results, each touchpoint a customer has with an organisation must be relevant and effortless.
So, what should marketers be doing in order to create a successful customer experience and where should they be concentrating their efforts?
A recent Salesforce mobile behaviour report showed that customers are spending 3.3 hours per day on their smartphones and 85% said mobile devices are a central part of everyday life, so as the mobile becomes ever more central to our lifestyles and shapes the way in which we research and interact with brands, a mobile-first mindset is essential for marketers planning their strategy. Mobile is inevitably your customer’s first interaction with your brand and is increasingly becoming their preferred medium for content consumption and communication, so failing to develop marketing strategies and a seamless customer experience with a mobile-first mindset is no longer an option.
The smartphone is often referred to as a consumers ‘extra limb’ and really has been a game changer when it comes to reaching audiences anywhere and at any time. Marketers should be taking advantage of this trend by providing an ever-increasing number of location-based offers. Applications should be created that take into account weather, time of day, and personalised interaction to make purchase decisions easy and instinctive, because they match an individual’s behaviour and preference.
However, it is also important to ensure that smartphone and tablet marketing strategies are given their respected individuality. It is important to discover the way in which people interact with these devices to determine the best marketing methods to employ.
Typically, tablet owners spend an hour or more on their tablets per day. They use their tablets at home and research shows that the average purchase on a tablet is much higher than purchases online or via mobile. Tablets also provide size and interactivity, and their larger touch screens offer more real estate for brands to utilise than on smartphone screens, immediately presenting great marketing opportunities.
However, whether on smartphone or tablet, consumers want a consistent experience that matches the device they are on at the time and so responsive design is critical to ensure your website recognises the device and delivers the optimised content to match it.
Another key consideration, which I alluded to earlier, is personalisation. Data should drive the way marketers interact with their customers and brands should leverage the way in which mobile provides unparalleled opportunities to learn more about customers by analysing their interactions. Marketers must understand their customers and who they are across all of the multi-touch experiences that people have. Personalisation allows marketers to create meaningful connections that truly resonate with customers.
Lastly, be consistent. Consumers need to know what to expect, and a consistent brand experience will evoke a sense of comfort, familiarity and loyalty. It’s important, however, not to confuse brand consistency with uniformity. Although messaging and tone should remain the same, always remain strategic to the channel that you are working in.
Ultimately, the key is to capture customer attention by reflecting what customers want to do, how they want to interact with your brand and by tapping into their likely behaviour, based on what you already know about them. But remember, one size won’t fit all, so know your target audience and what is best suited to their experience and tailor a personalised customer experience around them.
About the Author
Paul Swaddle is CEO of Pocket App the UK’s largest independent app developer.