Delighting the consumer in the Age of Impatience is about exceeding expectations. In a world where information is at your fingertips customer expectations are higher than ever before. Delight equates to winning hearts and minds thereafter building customer loyalty and a community of advocates. If your activities are all about push and not about love consumers are not going to engage too readily. And, in the digital space you only have a millisecond to delight as technology moves from novelty to mainstream at warp speed, and delight is gone.
Today’s consumers are more discerning, impatient, self-reliant and intolerant of being let down. Customers may not know precisely what they want, but they do know what they don’t want: they don’t want to face extensive voice menus, forced automated options, and frustrating interactions with contact centre personnel, or nameless, faceless account numbers. They want personalisation, quick resolution, and friendly and knowledgable interactions – only humans can express empathy, solve problems creatively, and remove barriers and stumbling blocks. Customer service is the largest single influence on consumer loyalty.
We all remember when we received an unexpected touch, such as a free coffee when our food order was delayed (even though we may not have noticed) or when our bill is reduced when we express a neutral or negative comment in response to“how was your meal?” But, we seethe when we are overlooked or ignored, usually leading to a no-return policy and vociferous complaints to friends and colleagues. Our customers are demanding of our attention, and so they should be, whether it be face-to-face, in a call centre, or on digital forums.
Enhancing the customer experience by being at the centre of every customer interaction, and empowering your employees to respond to a potential situation can create a memorable experience for the customer. Simple gestures have real impact.
Virtual agents and live online chat technologies are going someway to address customer frustration with call centres, especially after-hours.
Websites are often the first port of call for consumers, however traditional website search algorithms are usually not optimised to interpret questions: as a result less than 50% of traditional website searches actually return a result, and users must parse through a list of potential options that may or may not contain the information they want.
A well designed and responsive website crafted for an optimal viewing experience, with simple navigation, good search capability, easy contact information, and good search engine optimisation will delight customers and support customer queries. Your website is your public face to the world, and your primary marketing tool.
Social media and mobile platforms and channels are now the lifeblood of business, and it is here that you can create the most delight. Digital channels provide direct access to consumers, and make it easier to understand your customer on an individual basis; so tailor your digital ecosystem, then tender it carefully and daily.
Content is the key to engagement. Experience of your brand should align in a way that is memorable and personable, and builds trust. Many brands still use their social channels to blast out their marketing messages – online marketing campaigns do little to contribute to actual customer experience. Listen. Social relationships are two-way, so conversations must be monitored and responded to.
Delivering an exceptional experience consistently is especially important in a world where customers interact with a brand at many different touchpoints. Performing well across the customer journey is linked to greater market success than individual touchpoint performance. Understand what drives delight versus dissatisfaction. There is no short-cut to being best in class.