We are in an age where customer experience is a leading desire from consumers. There is less brand loyalty and increased competition for consumer dollars, and continued consolidation and disruption in many traditional industries. With that in mind. We want to present some expert opinions on what the future of customer experience and consumer behavior might hold.
Shama Hyder is the CEO and Founder of Zen Media, a globally renowned marketing and digital PR firm.She has an extensive background in creating customer experiences through her work with enterprise clients along with her research for keynotes and columns for Forbes, Inc, and AdAge. She’s a well-respected thought leader in the field of marketing, with two best-selling books – The Zen of Social Media Marketing & Momentum, and a frequent media go-to on the subject.
1. What is the current state of customer experience?
The bar is high. Very high. We live in a “same day prime delivery via Amazon/I’ll just Uber there/Alexa – what’s the weather tomorrow?”world. We as consumers are incredibly demanding – regardless of generation –and as such, all companies have to rise to meet that bar. It isn’t just about doing better than our competitors. It’s about evolving to meet and exceed the connected consumer’s expectations.
2. How did we get to where we are with customer experience?
It’s been a variety of factors. The speed of technology being a primary driver. The challenge is when some companies feel like they can do business like they did 20 or 30 years ago and still stay relevant. The truth is that for a very long time in history you could drag your heels for decades because technology wasn’t as much a factor. Today,you have to evolve and evolve fast, or best case scenario you lose market share and worst case scenario, you are Kodak or Blockbuster. Poof. Gone!
3. Is customer experience more important than the product itself?
I’d argue the customer experience is an extension of the product itself. Imagine you have the best camera in the marketplace and you are targeting professional photographers. Now, your customer experience is extremely lacking. No matter how good the product, it won’t have the same traction as it could. An amazing product is reduced because the overall experience is lacking.Now, we can compare to Apple. Apple doesn’t have the best products in every category. They just don’t, but their customer experience elevates every product so even if a product as a B grade, the overall experience elevates it to a B.
4. Investing in CX initiatives has the potential to double your revenue within 36 months. Dig in a little, how is that possible?
In some ways, it is back to the basics. What does your customer need? How can you better help them fulfill that need? In other ways,you are leveraging social media and the power of virality. A great customer experience tweeted/shared can truly go “viral” – it isn’t just a vehicle for improving current customer experience, it becomes a platform to attract new customers. You boost both your existing client revenue and new client revenue. It isn’t hard to see then how a solid CX initiative would double revenue in 36 months.
5. How does customer support relate to customer experience?
It is a part of the overall customer experience. Sometimes, brands mistake it for the ONLY part but in truth every touch-point and interaction which takes place before, during, and after related to a purchase is customer experience. None of those should be ignored.
6. How could a customer experience led video messaging tool like Zight (formerly CloudApp) improve customer satisfaction?
A tool like Zight (formerly CloudApp) can be deceptively simple in boosting customer experience because it is so easy to use and implement. It goes to show that boosting customer experience doesn’t have to be a complex process. It can literally be anything that makes a customer’s life easier. A video message vs. a text email allows for personal interaction, and sharing a quick screenshot of something you know they’d appreciate is a simple but very meaningful gesture.
7. What is the future of Customer Experience?
It is much more integrated, robust, and it meets the customer where they are. It hinges on your understanding of todays’ Connected Consumer. We did an entire study and shared our findings in a whitepaper – which can be found on ZenMedia.com. What it reveals may really surprise you.
8. How can businesses improve customer experience today?
Focus on the low hanging fruit. Customer experience doesn’t mean a huge overhaul. You can start with what your customer’s greatest needs are and look to addressing those first.
9. What is a brand you recently had a great customer experience with?
Adobe just hosted their annual conference and they did an amazing job educating their customers as well as including influencers into the process. They shared the behind the scenes which is so valuable as everyone is grappling with similar challenges in the digital age.It went way beyond the product to really show their commitment to the overall customer experience.
10. How can companies replicate the example you shared?
We helped our client, Chase Business, do exactly that with the Chase BizMobile. It stemmed from Chase Business asking their customers about their greatest challenges in business. They didn’t assume. They looked for the low hanging fruit. Their customers answered with “a lack of marketing and technology know-how” as their top most concern in business so to help solve this challenge, they partnered with us to launch the BizMobile, an experiential 4-wheeler, which has been going city to city with our experts on board answering questions and educating business owners. It has been such a success because it led with customer expectations and tied into the overall customer experience.
Afocus on customer experience led by data, strategy, and customer feedback can be crucial to succeeding in todays marketplace. Thanks to Shama for her time today. Check her out on Twitter, LinkedIn, and her website to see more of her learned wisdom.