Written by Gal Oron, CEO and co-founder at Zoomin
In today’s rapidly digitizing marketplace, brand perception hangs largely on the ability to offer customers a convenient, effortless use of products and services – in the B2B space as much as B2C. This is especially true in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which accelerated the shift to digital processes, with consequences that will long outlive the pandemic itself. In a world where more consumers than ever have grown accustomed to the at-your-fingertips convenience of eCommerce, a business’s reputation – and its ability to effectively compete – are increasingly determined by how easy it is to onboard, understand, and use its products. Even after customers have made a purchase, their loyalty isn’t a given if the purchase is followed by poor customer experiences. CX concerns every step of the customer journey, and brand perception is dependent on CX being consistent throughout. Frequently, these formative experiences happen when customers encounter challenges and have questions about their recently purchased product. In today’s digital economy, they expect clear and easy-to-understand answers to be as readily available as a binge-worthy Netflix series or a meal from Seamless.
Does a customer require contact with a support representative? Or are they empowered through an intuitive process to overcome hurdles quickly, conveniently, and most crucially, independently? The answers to these questions will play a decisive role in shaping customer views of an enterprise’s platform. Here’s how businesses can adapt to deliver the most seamless and effortless CX possible.
The Self-Service Paradox
Few things threaten customer satisfaction more than needing customer service. How, then, can a company have the best customer service when the best customer service is no customer service? An alternative exists. An enterprise’s product content is a powerful asset for providing customers with information and solutions that facilitate intuitive, high-quality experiences – service disguised as mere platform interaction. Done right, product content, such as product manuals and guides, training materials, knowledge articles, and community discussions, contains the answers to nearly every customer question. If made available in a unified, intuitive, and personalized way, wherever end-users need it, it empowers customers to self-serve. According to the Harvard Business Review, 81% of customers prefer enterprise support teams. But done badly, and a customer does not know where to turn for product answers, the customer’s view of a business’s solutions can be warped.
After all, if a customer can’t discover a solution’s functionality, does that functionality even exist? Not only that but disorganized, fragmented experiences will lead to customers branding that company’s product a “mess.” This couldn’t be more critical, because a bad customer experience is difficult to fix. According to Ruby Newell-Legner’s “Understanding Customers,” 12 positive experiences are needed to negate one “unresolved negative experience.” Showing you care about customers is just as important in B2B as in B2C. When businesses provide inconsistent information across different channels – forcing customers to navigate a confusing and complex maze – they send the message that CX isn’t a high priority. Not surprisingly, customers tend to make it less of a priority to continue doing business with such companies.
Understanding Customer Needs
So how exactly does a company build a brand that empowers customers? The foundations of well-branded CX are built on the savvy analysis of, and reaction to, the information they can glean about their customers, through the ways that customers interact with product content. This information can include analytics that show which pages on an enterprise’s website visitors use for longer, which ones they tend to stay away from, and which ones cause them to leave the site altogether. It can illuminate which search terms most frequently lead customers to a dead-end and highlight general case deflection – showing which processes were resolved without the user submitting a customer service query. Simple, aggregated, anonymous operational metrics like those mentioned above can help brands understand what their customers uniquely need. When correctly utilized, these insights can form the basis of a holistic CX strategy that allows companies to deliver the right product answers to users before they even realize that they have questions. Having a brand synonymous with intuitive CX experiences stands to benefit any company.
What’s Changed – and What Hasn’t
From the earliest days of prehistoric bartering to the post-2020 e-commerce boom, one thing has never changed: Business. Needs. Customers. But plenty has changed, including the technology that facilitates customer interactions and the expectations of customers in a world where progress is seen as synonymous with effortlessness. More than that, these expectations are changing faster than ever before.
As we charge through 2021 and beyond, companies that hope to survive in the face of competition must be ready to adapt to these changes, without compromising the integrity of good CX. If a customer must contact an enterprise directly to answer questions and resolve issues, then the brand has failed them. The solution to this need, and thus to the problem of offering high-quality CX, is not as difficult as it may seem. Empower customers to be independent, unify user environments, curate ultra-accessible, and personalized product content – these are the new cornerstones of stellar CX, and thus a stellar brand.