Corporate success was long defined by building the best product and getting the best price for it. Achievement meant focusing on what your company can do. But that is no longer our world. Companies must now market to people who are more demanding, which means prioritizing lifetime value over any individual transaction.
That is one fundamental change. Another is realizing that, in addition to serving customers, you must also please the people inside your building: your employees. Let’s start there.
Optimize the employee experience – before they quit
Forbes magazine in December 2019 published an interesting article: 100 Stats on Digital Transformation and Customer Experience. There are all kinds of ideas about the state of customer experience (CX) but the most telling insight is what is absent: there is not one statement about the importance of the employee experience.
At issue is the gap between their Sunday-night and Monday-morning experiences. On Sunday night, they are treated like a customer. A business-development manager for a national fashion retailer visits the company’s online portal on a Sunday and the experience is fluid, with lots of graphics, good navigation, and significant functionality. That same person on Monday sits before an aging computer that accesses unattractive, clunky, and siloed systems.
Or imagine an account executive at an auto-parts company who can check stock on four winter tires with an iPad while relaxing on a couch but can’t get comprehensive inventory data sitting in an office chair.
It is extremely important, from a marketing perspective, to build a similar experience model for your employees as for your customers. Many employees – and especially up-and-coming millennials – will only struggle to bridge that Sunday-to-Monday gap for so long until they fix the problem by finding a new employer.
Don’t try to make everything digital
Digital systems are the future of business, but not everything should be all digital all the time.
Take Uber. It is a simple app: it knows your location and guides a car to you. It is a great experience, it’s simple, and it delivers a real-world benefit. This holistic, start-to-finish model can be applied to a retailer, a service company, a B2B manufacturer, etc.
Marketers often want to build elaborate new systems but, more often than not, a simple process that optimizes both the digital and the physical is the best approach.
The last mile matters
Nowhere is that more obvious than in the last mile of the customer experience. Customers will almost complete a purchase – almost enjoy the brand experience – and then can’t enter their credit-card information or discover that shipping a $15 item will cost $45.
I once watched a customer have her positive CX snatched away at the last moment. The customer chose self-checkout because the line was shorter. She swiped her card, grabbed her receipt – and then had to stand in the big main line for 20 minutes to get the security tag removed.
Keep this in mind: the part of the experience a customer is most likely to remember is the last mile. This store messed up and will never win back that customer.
All customers are local
Brands operate around the globe, and there is a tendency to think of customers as being the same everywhere. But what a customer wants in North America and in Asia Pacific may not be the same, so stop treating them the same.
The good news is the answer to this challenge is simply to do some research to understand the experiences expected in each area.
The true heart of CX is looking at experiences holistically. The employee sitting down to work, the client waiting for a car, and the person completing a checkout – in any country. Make that person’s experience easy, quick, and pleasant from start to finish. If you don’t, those people will remember that you failed and soon you won’t ever see them again.
To learn more about Capgemini’s Digital Client Experience practice, contact Bibhakar Pandey, North America Digital Customer Experience Lead, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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