Now I have your attention, I want to start this article by correcting the title, it should read ‘When Customer Experience Works, Growth Happens’, for the simple reason, that when we, as designers, consider how we help your business grow, it is important for us, and you, to think beyond individual channels (digital being one), and consider the experience as a whole - we call this the holistic experience.
Great customer experiences are a combination of physical, emotional and cultural elements that, when choreographed together make for a natural, seamless, positive experience that binds your customers to your brand in the most profound way. With this comes a stronger, longer lasting relationship with customers, the opportunity to offer better, personal services and for business to extract greater value from their base.
The question I am often asked is how do I use digital to grow my business? The answer to this question is somewhat complex. It involves understanding and strengthening your back end systems so they are capable of delivering to your business plan, whilst gathering data on customer behaviour which will help you improve your offer.
I refer to the following:
What are you capable of doing as a business with your existing technology
What are you willing to invest to improve your technology
Who is running your digital program and do they understand digital is as much about the front end experience as it is about data harvesting
What are you trying to achieve in your businesses and where will digital fit into this
and finally, most importantly, what is your customer journey? and at which points along this journey can a digital offer help you to learn, teach and sell to your customers and how does this balance with your organisations physical, emotional and cultural offer.
As I mentioned earlier in this article, you as a business, have to focus on creating physical, emotional and cultural experiences which combine to define your organisation. To do this, you have to uniquely understand who you are, how you behave and what you look and sound like. Only then can you create what we call customer journeys.
What is a customer journey?
One of the most important tools any business can develop are customer journeys. A customer journey defines how you would like your customers to experience your business. Building a customer journey (or more than one), involves putting yourself in the mind of your customer to understand how, where and what journey they will take through your business. Once you have developed these, test them, refine them and get them to a point where you can clearly say this is how I want my customer experience to work.
Think about the channels you deploy and how you can optimise them to funnel your customers to a point where your either learn from them, they teach you, or you sell to them. Then think about where along that journey you can use digital channels to enhance that experience. Be prepared for a surprise. You will very quickly see that digital, if you deliver it optimally, will not be the answer to all your business needs. You will realise that digital is, as I have said many times, an ingredient in the pie and not the pie.