Innovate or die. This has become the mantra of businesses around the globe large and small. But what does it take to innovate? True innovation is a lot easier said than done. It’s more than introducing a new piece of technology or way of doing something. It requires a holistic understanding of the customer journey, and real transformation through organizational shifts and alignment in operations, marketing, user experience, and market intelligence.
And it’s through this understanding and alignment that businesses succeed in today’s commoditized marketplace. Brands have to be thinking about the type of experience they are creating for their customers at every touchpoint. All too often, however, there are a few key areas that are overlooked. And these could be impacting your customer experience game.
1. Get your brand and product in lock step
Are you missing opportunities to involve your customers in your brand? Organizations often miss out on this when they decouple the brand from their product or service. Yet it’s these micro-moments that often leave the biggest impact on your customers.
Take Mailchimp or Slack for example. These brands have cleverly woven their brand into their products through messaging and user experience design. This is demonstrated in the entertaining messaging that populates as the Slack app loads and the virtual high five the Mailchimp monkey gives you when you schedule a campaign. It’s also in the intuitive nature of Mailchimp. They understand where you likely want to go next after you’ve saved a draft campaign or what you want to see when you land on your dashboard.
2. Learn your customer's language
Do you truly know your customer? Beyond the problems or pain points they’re looking to solve, what types of messages or language resonate with them? Do they respond to humor or are they more formal? Do they have common slang terms only insiders in their community know and use? And furthermore, would they appreciate it if you learned (and properly used) that vernacular?
Brands that figure out (and nail) the language piece of the customer experience puzzle demonstrate they genuinely know and understand how their customers are feeling at every step. Storytelling, rather than promoting features and functions, is key to building brand loyalists.
3. Be where your customers are
Do you know how your customers want to communicate? For some, it’s important to have a human available to answer their questions and diagnose issues. For others, an in-depth FAQs page or online help center will do the trick. Bottom line –– you need to be accessible where your customers want you.
Even beyond customer service and troubleshooting, do you know where and how your customers find information? When you know where they turn for information, you can meet them there with relevant, high-value content. This approach not only helps provide a solution and fulfill a need, but it also helps establish your credibility and builds trust with prospects and current customers.
4. Act on feedback
Do you have a feedback loop in place to continually gauge how your customers are experiencing your brand? If you don’t, get a mechanism in place to start gathering that data. If you do, how often are you collecting feedback and what are you doing with it?
When you increase the frequency in which you gather feedback, you’re better able to diagnose things that could have impacted their experience (i.e. known downtime, seasons, news, etc.). Once you’ve got the data, don’t just sit on it. It’s like harboring a potential goldmine, and you’ll be missing opportunities to build better customer experiences. Consider sorting feedback based on positive, neutral and negative sentiment, then set up processes and assign people on your team to handle each specific area.
Mining quantitative and qualitative feedback can often expose customer challenges you may have previously overlooked. Could you create a new product or service to fulfill those newly uncovered needs?
Data is invaluable in helping shape and inform innovation, but it’s also an essential part of building a great customer experience. Get to know your customer, and you’ll be on your way to establishing a solid base of brand advocates.
For more on this topic, attend our panel discussion at PHX Startup Week on February 22.
Written by Terri O'Shaughnessy