This post is based on a keynote by Brad Rencher, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Adobe at the Summit 2017 conference.
Companies that consistently provide positive customer experiences enjoy higher sales and customer loyalty.
A Forrester study comparing revenue growth at several companies in their customer experience index found that leaders outperformed laggards by as much as 24%. Other surveys (and everyday experience) also show that people are willing to pay more for a brand that consistently delivers and delights.
“We are riding an “experience business” wave. This is the battleground where all of us will compete in the foreseeable future,” says Brad Rencher, Executive Vice President and General Manager of Adobe.
Customer experience isn’t just a fancy way of saying the customer is always right. It’s a change in mindset and tactics. “Brand awareness has been replaced by brand purpose,” says Rencher. Marketing has shifted from telling people what to buy to listening to what they need, and providing it in the right way, time and place.
New technology has also made it possible to understand and interact with customers in powerful ways. Advances in big data and analytics can reveal a person’s needs and preferences for completely personalized interactions. Mobile and social media open new touchpoints. Agile, extensible experience-driven commerce solutions pave the way for powerful omnichannel campaigns.
But the big question is, “How do you use those technologies?” Rencher provides the following learnings from some of the most successful customer experience campaigns.
Know and respect your market
Use data to anticipate what people want, but assure them that their privacy is protected. Digital efforts should make your company feel like a personal shopper, not a stalker.
How do you tread that line? As mentioned in these rules for content marketers, most consumers understand the value of predictive recommendations. 73% are willing to share at least one piece of information. 40% of those who don’t trust companies will ease their concern if you ask permission for data. It boils down to trust: earning it, and keeping it.
Speak in one voice
Many sales, marketing, customer service, online and retail efforts operate in silos. Align your efforts around a customer persona, and use platforms that can orchestrate and synergize your efforts.
Use technology with a purpose
Technology is a means to an end. Use it only if it adds to the customer’s digital experience or builds your business. If it leads to slow load times or adds unnecessary clicks or layers of information, take it out.
The best technology leads to concrete benefits that solves a problem, simplifies a process, or elevates an experience. For example, the luxury cruise line Carnival introduced the Medallion: a small wearable that’s connected to each guest and interacts with 7,000 sensors on the ship’s decks. It provides personalized recommendations, activates temperature controls the second you walk through the door and helps you locate family members. Even though it’s based on breakthrough technology, it still responds to a universal need: the chance to switch off your brain and have fun during your vacation.
Increase customer touchpoints
Domino’s is consistently one of the top 10 companies in terms of online transactions, alongside giants like Amazon and Apple. Customers can order a pizza through the website, app, tweeting the pizza emoticon, or partner sites. They can also follow their order’s progress, and interact with people at every stage. “Hold the anchovies!”
By the end of 2016, 60% of Domino’s sales have come from digital ordering channels. “They’ve turned the Internet of Things into the Internet of Pizza, and I completely support them for that,” quips Rencher.
Delight at every turn
Customer delight comes from exceeding expectations and creating a positive reaction. In some cases, it means creating services that people didn’t know they wanted until they arrived.
Henry Ford said, “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Instead, his car changed the way people travel, and decades later, Mercedes Me changed the way people used cars.
The Mercedes Me turns the car into a complete digital experience pod. Record the routes you take, set preferred temperature controls, instantly locate where you’re parked, or relay your location during an emergency.
Ride the next wave in experience-driven commerce
Rencher says that customer experience represents a new era in commerce. “This wave is about goose bumps, it’s about smiles, about bringing people together,” Rencher noted. “It’s even about nothing – it’s about doing our job so well that consumers don’t even know that you and I exist.”
Elastic Path’s agile, API-first commerce platform gives you the ability to quickly create experiences that delight customers by embedding commerce in new touchpoints as the adoption of consumer technologies continues to accelerate. Many of the keynotes at Adobe’s Summits in Las Vegas and London highlighted Elastic Path customers.
Want to learn more about becoming an experience based business? Book a demo today.