Irrespective of the time, the day, the year or the age we live in, irrespective of the changes in paradigms, one rule will always remain the same for businesses: Satisfy your customers to maximize revenues. But the way businesses satisfy customers has starkly changed over the years the Web economy has come into existence. Satisfying customers is now about holding their hand and taking them on a journey. What will satisfy them is not the journey per se but the Customer Experience on that journey. Paradoxically, it might sound extremely simple and extremely cryptic at the same time. But that’s not a problem. This post is aimed at making things as simple as possible.The apt question to ask here is: What is Customer Experience? Whatever the answer to that question, the intuitive thing here is that businesses need to ensure the Customer Experience is great.But the answer to that question alone won’t make things easy for businesses. In fact, it might make things even tougher. This question should be followed by several others. How does one provide for a great Customer Experience? Is it something hard to do? Since interactions with customers are wholly digital, is Customer Experience just about digital? And so, what are the essential tools required to provide for a great Customer Experience?We’ll answer all these questions for you and rest assured, when you come to know of the answers, you will be in a much better in satisfying your customers.What is Customer Experience?For long, people how use pieces of software or interface with a business through a software products have been simply termed users. So, whatever we are talking about here, shouldn’t it be called user experience? Well, it’s a fallacy because user experience and customer experience are two different things. As absurd as it may sound, in the Web economy, businesses are tasked with providing a human experience digitally. That is one way of defining Customer Experience but it falls short. A user experience is the experience during one event of interface with an entity. For instance, if a customer is accessing your mobile app and he or she likes it, you gave your customer a good user experience. But it’s only a small fragment of the Customer Experience. On the other hand, User Experience is the sum of all the individual user experiences. McKinsey and Company analysts describe Customer Experience as cumulative experiences across multiple touchpoints and in multiple channels over time. As they say, it’s not one event that describes the User Experience, it’s the entire experience over a period of time that matters. So, though businesses should avoid it, one bad interface doesn’t mean a worse Customer Experience. Of course, when you improve individual interactions, the summation definitely improves. But the point is not limited to that. The key takeaway here is that all touchpoints should be perfected but more importantly, businesses must also perfect the processes. It’s not enough if you just have a great mobile app, a great website, rolling social media. The processes have to be great as well. How these touchpoints gel together has to be perfected as well.
Is User Experience just about digital?Just about digital means a website, a mobile app, emails, social media and any other form of interaction that is wholly digital and over the internet. But no. That’s not all. Some things can’t be done on a mobile app. Some things can’t be done on a website. Some questions can’t be answered over the internet. Touchpoints like the call center, the face to face meeting also need to be perfected which means Customer Experience is also about the blend between the online and real world. For instance, businesses moving from their brick and mortar stores to the Web must not ignore the former but form a blend of their physical and online stores. If a customer visits your physical store and makes a purchase, the same should reflect in the list of transactions on your website and mobile app. And the customer must be able to return the purchased product through the mobile app, if he or she wishes to do so. That is when there is a blend and completeness to the interaction.What are the essential tools to providing a Customer Experience?If a business could buy just one tool to enhance the User Experience it provides, it should be a Customer Identity Management platform. Because businesses don’t meet face-to-face with their interactions, the only way of knowing them is through data. So data is customers. But collecting and managing data can be hard and if businesses have umpteen tools they can’t use to collect or manage customer data, it doesn’t make any sense. Customer Identity Management platforms, on the other hand, have also been classified as iPaaS, data and cloud integration platforms which further emphasizes their central nature. Customer Identity Management platforms help perform the most basic but also most important tasks in a marketing stack. They make registration and logins easy for customers, then collect data, centralize that data and then integrate with other martech tools for seamless flow of data.
How exactly does a Customer Identity Management platform help?At the very basic level, a Customer Identity Management platform helps centralize data from different touchpoints and web properties. A critical component of it, Single Sign-On helps create a unified view of each customer from across the different touchpoints and channels being used. A unified view of the customer is pivotal to providing a uniform and great Customer Experience. Because without a unified view, businesses fail in the first critical step towards providing a clinical Customer Experience. It is impossible to improve the Customer Experience having a skewed and incomplete view of the customer from the standpoints of different web properties. Simply because each web property and touchpoint has different or incomplete data about a customer and so view the customer differently. That’s exactly what customers don’t want. In real life, even if you did that, they could explain the situation to you and amends can be made quickly. But on the Web, that’s not possible. The only plausible alternative customers can think of is: Exit.