Focusing attention on customers' activities and how they perform them makes it easier to find the key to redesigning processes that promise better service. When we understand what these tasks are that people need to perform, we gain a different perspective on meeting their needs, avoiding waiting for feedback and complaints once it is too late.
If we focus on the short term, we can generate solutions to current problems, innovating gradually and saving efforts and resources that we would have to invest in large amounts if we were looking for a radical change. This approach is a win-win, as your customers appreciate the value you give them, and your business begins to be recognized while you achieve your strategic objectives.
This blog brings you some critical considerations for designing your customer experiences.
- How is the customer experience improved?
- In what dimensions does it occur?
- How are customer experiences composed?
How is the customer experience improved?
If you search the internet on how to define a customer experience strategy or what are the main elements of these strategies, you will find basic information that will guide you on this path.
On many of these sites, you will read that it is necessary to build a Buyer Persona to get to know your customer and learn about their needs, expectations, and frustrations. It is also essential to define their Customer Journey, with which you will be able to visualize their buying process. The purpose of these exercises is to help you see how much you know about the consumers of your products or services and put yourself in their shoes and see what they have to do to buy from you or your competitors.
Once at this point, you should analyze your business processes to see if you have a way to respond to those Customer Journeys. It is easy to see the gap between what you need to satisfy your customers and what you currently have with this information. This is where the opportunities for improvement come from, not only because there are moments of truth where you have no impact right now, but also because just because you have a process doesn't mean it's a good one. Moreover, you may discover at this moment that you do not have a good Value Proposition, or a Business Model that is sustainable over time, which would mean that you need to take a few steps back to reinforce the foundations of your company or even redesign your entire product or service.
Remember that customer experience is not the same as user experience. The latter is only a part of the former since it only focuses on designing a product or service according to the customer's needs, which will generate experiences during its use or acquisition but omits the rest of the Journey.
If you need to review the concept of the Buyer Persona and how it is composed, I leave you this link: Buyer Persona
In what dimensions does it occur?
Your Buyer Persona lives in a physical world, surrounded by people and technology. But, when thinking about redesigning your customers' experience, you have to consider how they engage with each of these elements before you think about offering them anything.
- The digital dimension: Today, all markets seek to increase their presence on the internet, regardless of whether they are companies that manufacture products or provide services. It is important to know how to take advantage of technology as a competitive advantage; virtuality is the second world through which every consumer navigates today. The development of mobile technologies, virtual reality, blockchain, artificial intelligence, and the internet of things, among others, is increasing, which educates people to spend more and more of their time in this medium and is also accustoming them to high levels of personalization and immediacy.
- The physical dimension: Even though every day we spend more and more time on the Internet, either due to our work, leisure, or interaction with friends and family, the physical world is still the most important place to perceive experiences. That public that still wants to go to your physical store will experience the sensations produced by their senses and may also come looking for immersive experiences in search of emotions.
The social dimension: The customer-salesperson interaction generates a space in which an experience is created. A conversation between two people can directly influence the expectations of a product or service. The density of people you observe in a physical or digital space can transmit ideas without anyone ever mentioning them to you. There are even robots to simulate that customer service.
From a process standpoint, taking this information into account will tell you whether or not you have the resources and activities that bring value to your customers. Is he more technological, or does he prefer the physical world? How does he like to be treated by strangers? Does he select a chatbox for a phone call? How can we design a solution to his problems in the physical world? Who influences his decisions? Do we have a way to follow up with him if he needs help?
There are articles on the Internet, such as How to Define a Customer Experience (CX) Strategy, that I recommend you to read, as it not only gives you an overview of what Customer Experience is but also teach you how to design a strategy and mentions some good practices to do so.
How are customer experiences composed?
One of the advantages of the Customer Journey is that it helps us understand how our customer feels at each stage of acquiring our product or service. However, it can be used in the other direction. If we already know what the customer feels, how can we take advantage of this information to enhance their positive emotions and reduce the negative ones?
One trick to finding this solution is to discover how experiences are shaped, so we can offer different answers depending on the stage your customer is in.
- Sensations: They can be perceived through tastes, smells, and textures, by listening or observing. In both the physical and digital dimensions, you should take care of the aesthetic aspect of the store or website, for example. In a search stage, you don't want them to feel displeasure with what they see.
- Emotions: This can also be generated through affections, which produce moods, making sure they are positive. Offering small gifts or discounts can exceed your customers' expectations and increase their degree of satisfaction, thus creating a love for your brand.
Relationships: If your Buyer Persona's Customer Journey contains many social interactions, look to train your staff, improve your work environment and offer personalized treatment to generate a unique experience. There may also be relational components with other groups of people, for which you can think about building digital communities for specific customers.
- Cognitive components: Other experiences come from the thinking part. Awakening a customer's creativity or solving their doubts can stimulate them mentally. Nowadays, we all search for products or services on the Internet before buying them, but how much information do suppliers offer to educate us? Consider including digital content in blogs, e-books, and infographics. Provide options for contacting your business in case of questions and allow for after-hours inquiries.
- Pragmatic components: There is also an experience that has to do with the practical side. A website that is not intuitive or convenient to use will not be liked, and some people may appreciate not realizing that their product is defective when they get home. Consider whether you should incorporate website design or maintenance processes into your company and offer product sampling if possible.
- Lifestyles: Your customers may have values and beliefs that mark their behavior and affect their buying habits. The solution here varies depending on the customer segment your Buyer Persona comes from; you will have to find a way to reinforce that lifestyle through the products or processes so that they feel identified.
I also leave you this link if you need to review the concept of Customer Journey: How to create a customer journey map.
Customer experience design should not be a one-time activity but constantly being reviewed and improved to keep our processes up to date and deliver the experience our customers deserve. But before checking your processes, make sure you understand your Buyer Persona and their Customer Journey, from which you will get their expectations, needs, and problems, which encompass not only the product or service they want to buy but also the experience they will have when searching for it.