Lessons from Relationships and Marriage in Developing a Customer Experience Strategy

What is the strategy that brands can look at to offer a superior experience? A key approach is the omnichannel one

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Maggie is on horseback, fleeing away from one more wedding that is not to be. The soundtrack appropriately is ‘I still haven’t found what I’m looking for’.  That’s the opening scene from the Julia Roberts-Richard Gere romcom, The Runaway Bride. Cheesy much? Think again, if you are a brand and are committed to offering the best customer experience. Romcoms have their uses.

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In brand-speak, Maggie is your typical customer, who hesitates to commit though she has been engaged many times. Eventually, she does marry Ike, after they get to know each other better. Before that, she also understands herself better. What’s the takeaway for brands here? The more a brand engages with a customer, the better equipped it is to understand the customer. Once a brand has a clear vision of its business objectives and goals, it can then align its customer experience strategy with its vision. 

As a 2017 McKinsey study explains, enhancing CX means businesses need to do some serious thinking about “what do customers really need, desire, and aspire to? What are they trying to achieve by consuming a product or service? What kinds of behaviours are connected to the experience, natural or constructed? What do customers think about the product, the service and the experience? And why they think the way they do.” 

According to a PwC survey on CX, consumers point at convenience, speedy and knowledgeable help, apart from friendly service as the most important elements of positive customer experience. What is the strategy that brands can look at to offer a superior experience? A key approach is the omnichannel one. For instance, Airbnb offers end-to-end CX by going omnichannel and providing intuitive ways to fulfil customer needs. 

Earning Trust

Trust is at the heart of any relationship. Deliver on your promises consistently and you build trust. 

The same is true for brand-consumer relationships. Brand authenticity, accountability, transparency, and personalised interactions ensure trust. Delivering on the brand promise is yet another building block of customer experience.

Shared Values

Every relationship has one larger vision or a belief. Couples share a set of values or goals. For one couple, it could be world travel. For another, it could be volunteer work. The same applies to brands. What set of values do you believe in? Do they align with a customer’s? People like to engage with brands that share a similar worldview and philosophy. According to the global 2018 Edelman Earned Brand study, 64 per cent of global consumers are “belief-driven”.

Staying Consistently Good

As the PwC survey says one bad experience can lead to 32 per cent of all customers disengaging with a brand they earlier loved. A bad experience is all it takes for a marriage to hit the rocks. Like Brooke played by Jennifer Aniston The Break-Up, when she starts to feel unappreciated in her marriage. We did tell you romcoms have their uses. 

Know When to Bring in the Tech

Technological advancements such as AI, ML, Big Data and analytics have begun to strengthen CX. However, it is not all technology. As the earlier quoted PWC survey says, “59% of all consumers feel companies have lost touch with the human element of customer experience.” The stress should be on human and machine, not human or machine, the survey suggests. 

Knowing when to use technology and when to bring in the human element will sharpen a brand’s CX. Like in a marriage, face-to-face interactions laced with human emotions strengthen relationships but technology helps keep connections alive as well. 

Paying attention to every touchpoint sharpens customer experience strategy. The touchpoint could be on the brand website, a review page or an app. What is the point of discovery of a product that solves a customer need? When does the customer make the decision to buy and where? This map gives you a singular view of what the customer wants or doesn’t he or she wants. Customer journeys help brands offer personalized experiences, build engagement and loyalty. This is similar to a marriage. When one partner pays attention to all aspects of the relationship, including milestones, crises, likes and dislikes, and gains a wholesome picture of their significant other, they are better equipped to understand and offer what the other wants.

Every business that wants to win should want to win people over. Brands that think like a partner in a marriage are bound to keep the relationship intact and thrive. 

KT Prasad

Written By

KT Prasad is the Country Sales Director for Zendesk, India. Since joining the Indian office of the San Francisco based SaaS Company in September 2016, he has been responsible for Business growth with a focus on helping customers transform their customer service into meaningful customer engagement with beautifully simple solutions.

He has a Bachelor of Engineering (Mechanical) degree from the Karnatak University and over 20 years of management experience in some of the top companies from the software and services industry. Prior to joining Zendesk, KT was the General Manager with Hewlett-Packard Enterprise responsible for Microsoft Business Applications, Asia Pacific and Japan. He was in charge of delivering Microsoft based business applications such as Dynamics CRM and Dynamics Axapta and leading HPE’s Enterprise Cloud Solutions strategy for Microsoft applications. Prior to HPE, KT spent time with Adea, PSI Data Systems and Agilisys (formerly known as netdecisions) where he played various leadership roles.

In every role that he has held, his basic objectives have been; driving customer satisfaction, improving integration across business units and addressing the unique technology needs of customers.