The world is in a race to digitalise and automate the customer experience (CX); however, CX programs have become so obsessed with data and knowing their customer, that they end up losing sight of what customers want from a brand in the first place. There is a fixation on optimising all the different parts of an experience; however, this does not always make a better whole. So, despite all the hard work, brands are leaving value on the table. Last year, Publicis Sapient ran a landmark survey on d
y on digital government in Australia, which found that 92 per cent of the 5,000 respondents want to use more digital services. Convenience is the primary driver for two-thirds of them. In fact, the Salesforce State of the Connected Customer Report states that 84 per cent of customers say the experience a company provides is just as important as the products or services themselves. So, what are the core ingredients of a great experience? Four imperatives for designing a better CX We have identified four foundational imperatives that underpin every experience customers say makes a minimum, viable and valuable experience for them. Good customer experiences are: Light – Light experiences are immediate. Speed is a human expectation. An experience must be timely and responsive. Ethical – Ethical experiences are empathetic. They understand the context of an audience’s values and are honest and transparent. Accessible – Experiences are more than inclusive and compliant – they are frictionless and consistent across all touchpoints. Dataful – Experiences defined by their intelligence have the smarts to go beyond personalisation to anticipate a user’s needs. The vital component: Emotion But even when we deliver on all these customer expectations, one critical ingredient is often missing: emotion. This is what unlocks an experience for a customer beyond ticking the boxes of what they need and expect, elevating it to make it memorable. A wide range of research shows that emotion increases brand loyalty and trust, boosts sales and drives engagement. Doing vs being: what we do and why we do it Consider a customer who buys a bunch of Valentine’s Day flowers. They likely looked up and compared flowers online, or perhaps went to a store to smell the roses. They have asked questions about delivery or written a love note on the checkout page. There is a tangible, functional journey the customer had to step through to complete that task. Supporting the end-to-end journeys of customers means meeting their needs and supporting their moment of ‘doing’, but in CX, the business we are really in is helping customers ‘become’. The functional ‘doing’ actions, such as comparing flowers, are fundamentally motivated by more stable, emotional ‘being’ goals – such as being thoughtful and gaining a sense of belonging. For years, advertisers and marketers have known how to create these emotional connections between a consumer and the purpose of a brand. The experience needs to deliver on that promise. But most of the time it doesn’t, and the gap is pretty stark. Recent IDC research has found that 87 per cent of companies think they have excellent CX but only 11 per cent of customers agree with that. So, experience really is the battleground. When we look behind the scenes, we see sales teams, contact centres, and even product teams getting stuck in the doing. They’re caught up with tickets and data and optimisation and may be doing a great job based on their KPIs. They’re increasing digital services, resolving queries, and cutting costs. So why aren’t they seeing the return on CX they expect? Win by knowing what your customers really want Ultimately, if your experience isn’t solving a customer’s life goal at a deeper level, your relationship with them will always be limited. They won’t think twice before switching to a competitor who can service that need easier or faster. Emotion runs on a spectrum, and we often de-prioritise designing for the moments between the highs and lows. The key is recognising that different moments matter to different people. To be successful, brands need to shift from servicing customers’ functional needs to facilitating their aspirational goals. Convenience alone is not a defensible strategy, and neither is price. The way you win at experience is by understanding what your customers are choosing you to do for them. Motista data shows that emotionally connected customers recommend brands at much higher rates, 30.2 per cent vs 7.6 per cent. Memorable experiences really do pay off.