Photo by UX Indonesia
When you visit a company’s website, social networking pages, mobile website, and online community does everything fit together?
Do you feel like your time there is a positive one whether you’re in a brick-and-mortar store or simply checking out the company’s latest Facebook deal? If not, the brand may have to focus on better cultivating customer experience (CX). CX is a key component—if not the most important—for a company to gain a competitive edge. If customers like the way they perceive the look, feel and functionality of your online identities you’re winning the growing battle to provide good CX. If not, it could have a huge impact on your brand, as poor customer service can cost American companies approximately $83 billion a year, according to Jack Loechner from Media post. To provide a top-rated CX, marketers have to take a multidimensional approach in order to reach different audiences on websites, social networks, apps, and online communities along with the overall perception customers have in physical store locations. Nowadays, customers can interact with your business directly—and at a moment’s notice. This is why it is essential to present a unified and well-orchestrated platform that sets your brand apart. According to this Forrester report, 64% of respondents said their goal in providing a great customer experience was to stand apart from competitors, and 75% want to differentiate themselves based on customer experiences.
Why Customers Need More than a Uniform CX
To create a seamless network customers need to be able to choose the channel where they want to interact and find consistent branding when they switch between digital offerings. That’s why CX specialists must focus their efforts on developing unified CX instead of just uniform CX. Forrester defines unified CX as “experiences that match content, functionality, and a coherent brand personality to user expectations, tasks, and context across touchpoints.”.
Aligning content, design, interactivity, information architecture, and functionality is no easy task. Some of the challenges that marketers face include the following: - The rules only cover visual elements Most companies use guidelines for visual styles and layouts, but those rules don’t cover customer interactions or address individual components of the brand. - Different strokes made by different folks When cross-sectional players put various pieces of a customer experience strategy together, it can create fragmented experiences because they may not match up. Customers can pick up on this, and it can affect their overall experience. A Genesys report indicates that 57% of c-level executives believe the CEO is responsible for new customer communication avenues including mobile and social media, while 38% of midlevel managers say the marketing department has authority in the area—a notable disconnect. - Internal processes have gone AWOL Companies that do have solid standards sometimes lack the processes to enable designers to coordinate CX initiatives with cross-functional teams and the organization’s “big picture” strategy.
Different strokes made by different folks
To cultivate unified CX, companies need to: • Use a visual design that incorporates style guidelines for imagery, typography and layout • Tailor content and functionality for the specific medium or device used • Give your branding a human approach so it connects with the personality of the audience (The NFL promoted the Twitter hashtag #SBLV for the Super Bowl, but 96% of fans stuck with #Superbowl or SuperBowl—a big disconnect with fans!) • Devise repeatable processes, a library of standards and organizational best practices to optimize the process for CX programs • Apply metrics to track overall CX instead of just one channel, such as Foresee.
CX Exists Outside of the Digital Arena, Too
Keep in mind that CX doesn’t just exist in the digital world. FedEx took a closer look at the customer experience in stores and found that something as simple as a tower of packages made customers uneasy. As a result, they installed presorting windows so customers could see packages go into the right slot—instead of being placed on top of a leaning tower of cardboard that made patrons nervous their parcels may never reach their destinations. When you look at companies who have taken the unified approach, it does more than convey what their brand is. It puts their brand upfront and personal with the customer for a positive connection—that’s a winning CX